Wednesday, January 10, 2018

TheList 4631

The List 4631

To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits.
. This Day In Naval History – January 10, 2018
Jan. 10
1917—The first U.S. Navy production order for aerial photographic equipment is initiated when the Naval Observatory issued requisitions for 20 aero cameras and accessories to be manufactured by Eastman Kodak Company.
1934—In the first nonstop formation flight from the United States to Hawaii, six Consolidated P2Y-1 aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP-10) depart San Francisco, CA. After flying 2,399 miles in 24 hours and 35 minutes, the P2Y-1 aircraft arrive at Hawaii.
1943 – Submarine Trigger (SS 237) sinks the Japanese destroyer Okikaze off Yokosuka, Japan.
1944—Submarines Seawolf (SS 197) and Steelhead (SS 280) attack a Japanese convoy about 70 miles north of Naha, Okinawa, sinking three ships, including one while in the middle of a typhoon.
1953—The auxiliary motor minesweepers Merganser (AMS 26) and Firecrest (AMS 10) receive 40 rounds of 105 mm enemy fire from guns in the vicinity of Ponggang-ni near North Korea. Reports reflect no damage or casualties from the attack.
Today in History January 10
Robert Guiscard and his brother Roger take Palermo in Sicily.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, is beheaded on Tower Hill, accused of acting as an enemy of the British Parliament.
King Philip V shocks all of Europe when he abdicates his throne in favor of his eldest son, Louis.
An uprising of over 400 slaves is put down in New Orleans. Sixty-six blacks are killed and their heads are strung up along the roads of the city.
General Stephen Kearny and Commodore Robert Stockton retake Los Angeles in the last California battle of the Mexican War.
Florida secedes from the Union.
London's Underground begins operations.
John D. Rockefeller and his brother William establish the Standard Oil Company of Ohio.
Filipino leader Emilio Aguinaldo renounces the Treaty of Paris, which annexed the Philippines to the United States.
The Automobile Club of America installs signs on major highways.
Argentina bans the importation of American beef because of sanitation problems.
Two German cruisers, the Emden and the Nurnberg, suppress a native revolt on island of Ponape in the Caroline Islands in the Pacific when they fire on the island and land troops.
The world's first flying-boat airplane, designed by Glenn Curtiss, makes its maiden flight at Hammondsport.
Germany is rebuked as the Entente officially rejects a proposal for peace talks and demands the return of occupied territories from Germany.
In Washington, the House of Representatives passes legislation for women's suffrage.
The Treaty of Versailles goes into effect.
The United States withdraws its last troops from Germany.
German planes attack 12 ships off the British coast; sinking 3 ships and killing 35 people.
The Soviets and Germany agree on the East European borders and the exchange of industrial equipment.
Chiang Kai-shek and the Yenan Communist forces halt fighting in China.
Panama breaks ties with the U.S. and demands a revision of the canal treaty.
The United States and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations for the first time in 117 years.
Sandinista Daniel Ortega becomes President of Nicaragua, vowing to continue the country's transformation to a socialist state with close ties to the USSR and Cuba.
A general strike begins in Guinea; eventually, it will lead to the resignation of the country's president, Lansana Conte.
From Big Red To Halsey's Right Arm
by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Trackback Link
This Week in American Military History:
Jan. 9, 1861:  Confederate coastal-artillery batteries – including a four-gun battery manned by cadets under the command of Maj. Peter F.
Stevens of the Citadel (the Military College of South Carolina) – open fire on the U.S. commercial paddlesteamer "Star of the West" in Charleston harbor. The shots – the first of the American Civil War – repel the Star, forcing the ship to abort its mission of resupplying the besieged U.S. Army garrison at Fort Sumter.
The crew aboard the Star report seeing "a red Palmetto flag" flying above the cadet battery.
That flag – a red version of the blue South Carolina flag – flies today
over the parade ground at the Citadel.
Jan. 12, 1945:  Warplanes from the U.S. Navy's carrier Task Force 38 under
the command of Vice Adm. John Sidney McCain Sr. (father of Adm. John S.
McCain Jr. and grandfather of Sen. John S. McCain III), attack enemy
convoys and bases along the coast of Japanese-held French Indochina
(Vietnam) in the Battle of the South China Sea.
Codenamed "Operation Gratitude," the attacks are wildly successful. Despite
rough seas and high winds from a dangerously close typhoon, Japanese bases
at Saigon, Cape Saint Jacques (Vung Tau), Cam Ranh Bay, Qui Nhon, and
Tourane Bay (Da Nang) are hit hard, resulting in the destruction of docks,
barracks, weapons depots, hangars, and scores of Japanese seaplanes and
other aircraft, as well as the sinking of more than 40 enemy ships.
Adm. McCain – who Adm. William "Bull" Halsey refers to as ""not much more
than my right arm" – dies of a heart attack on Sept. 6, 1945, four days
after witnessing the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard USS Missouri. He is
posthumously awarded a fourth star.
Jan 13, 1865:  U.S. soldiers, sailors, and Marines under the joint command
of Maj. Gen. Alfred Howe Terry and Rear Adm. David Dixon Porter begin
landing operations – in what will prove to be the largest American
amphibious operation until World War II – aimed at seizing Fort Fisher,
N.C., a Confederate stronghold near the port city of Wilmington.
The fort – commanded by Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg (yes, Fort Bragg,
N.C. is named in his honor) – will fall to Union forces within two days.
Jan. 14, 1784:  The U.S. Congress, temporarily meeting in Annapolis,
Maryland, ratifies the Treaty of Paris, officially ending America's War of
10 Torpedoes and 7 Bombs: How the Biggest Battleship Ever Died
January 9, 2018

At 14:23, it happened. Yamato's forward internal magazines detonated in a spectacular fireball. It was like a tactical nuclear weapon going off. Later, a navigation officer on one of Japan's surviving destroyers calculated that the "pillar of fire reached a height of 2,000 meters, that the mushroom-shaped cloud rose to a height of 6,000 meters." The flash from the explosion that was Yamato's death knell was seen as far away as Kagoshima on the Japanese mainland. The explosion also reportedly destroyed several American airplanes observing the sinking.
In early 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy made a difficult decision: it would sacrifice the largest, most powerful battleships ever built to protect Okinawa, the gateway to Japan's Home Islands. The decision sealed the fate of the battleship Yamato and its crew, but ironically did nothing to actually protect the island from Allied invasion.
The battleship Yamato was among the largest and most powerful battleships of all time. Yamato has reached nearly mythical status, a perfect example of Japan's fascination with doomed, futile heroics. Built in 1937 at the Kure Naval Arsenal near Hiroshima, it was constructed in secrecy to avoid alarming the United States. Japan had recently withdrawn from the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited battleship tonnages, and was free to build them as large as it wanted.
And what ships it built. 839 feet at the waterline and weighing seventy thousand tons fully loaded, Yamato was the largest ship of the war, eclipsed only by postwar American aircraft carriers. It and its sister, Musashi, were armed with nine eighteen-inch naval guns, mounted in turrets of three; six 155-millimeter secondary naval guns; twenty-four five-inch guns; 162 twenty-five-millimeter antiaircraft guns; and four 13.2-millimeter heavy machine guns.
All of this firepower was meant to sink enemy battleships—more than one at a time if necessary. The extremely large number of antiaircraft guns, added during a refit, were meant to keep the ship afloat in the face of American air power until it could close within striking range of enemy ships.
Unfortunately for Yamato and its crew, it was obsolete by the time it was launched in 1941. The ability of fast aircraft carriers to engage enemy ships at the range of their embarked dive and torpedo bombers meant a carrier could attack a battleship at ranges of two hundred miles or more, long before it entered the range of a battleship's guns. Battleships were "out-sticked," to use a modern term.
By early 1945, Japan's strategic situation was grim. Japanese conquests in the Pacific had been steadily rolled back since the Allied landings on Guadalcanal in August 1942. The Philippines, Solomons, Gilberts and Carolines had all been lost and the enemy was now literally at the gates. Okinawa, the largest island in the Ryukyu island chain was the last bastion before the Home Islands itself. The island was just 160 miles from the the mainland city of Kagoshima, coincidentally the birthplace of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The invasion of Okinawa began on April 1, 1945. In response, the Japanese Navy activated Operation Ten-Go. Yamato, escorted by the cruiser Yahagi (commanded by the famous Tameichi Hara) and eight destroyers, would sail to Okinawa and disrupt the Allied invasion force. Yamato would then beach, becoming coastal artillery. It was a humiliating end for a battleship capable of twenty-seven knots, but the lack of fuel and other military resources made for truly desperate times.
Yamato and its task force, designated the Surface Special Attack Force, departed Tokuyama, Japan on April 6, proceeding due south to transit the Bungo Strait. American forces had already been alerted to the Ten-Go operation, thanks to cracked Japanese military codes, and two American submarines were waiting to intercept the flotilla. Yamato and its escorts were duly observed by the submarines, but the subs were unable attack due to the task force's high rate of speed and zigzagging tactics. The sighting report was pushed up the chain of command.
Allied naval forces in and around Okinawa were the obvious target, and the massive fleet braced itself accordingly. Six older battleships from the Gunfire and Covering Support Group, or Task Force 54, under Rear Admiral Morton Deyo, prepared to defend the invasion force, but were pulled away in favor of an air attack.
At 0800 hours on April 7, scout planes from Admiral Mitscher's Fast Carrier Force, or Task Force 58, located Yamato, still only halfway to Okinawa. Mitscher launched a massive strike force of 280 fighters, bombers and torpedo planes, and the fight was on.
For two hours, the Surface Special Attack Force was subjected to a merciless aerial bombardment. The air wings of eleven fleet carriers joined in the attack—so many planes were in the air above Yamato that the fear of midair collision was real. The naval aviators were in such a hurry to score the first hit on the allegedly unsinkable ship plans for a coordinated attack collapsed into a free-for-all. Yamato took two hits during this attack, two bombs and one torpedo, and air attacks claimed two escorting destroyers.
A second aerial armada consisting of one hundred aircraft pressed the attack. As the Yamato started to go down, U.S. naval aviators changed tactics. Noticing the ship was listing badly, one squadron changed its torpedo running depth from ten feet—where it would collide with the main armor belt—to twenty feet, where it would detonate against the exposed lower hull. Aboard Yamato, the listing eventually grew to more than twenty degrees, and the captain made the difficult decision to flood the starboard outer engine room, drowning three hundred men at their stations, in an attempt to trim out the ship.
Yamato had taken ten torpedo and seven bomb hits, and was hurting badly. Despite counterflooding, the ship continued to list, and once it reached thirty five degrees the order was given to abandon ship. The captain and many of the bridge crew tied themselves to their stations and went down with their ship, while the rest attempted to escape.
At 14:23, it happened. Yamato's forward internal magazines detonated in a spectacular fireball. It was like a tactical nuclear weapon going off. Later, a navigation officer on one of Japan's surviving destroyers calculated that the "pillar of fire reached a height of 2,000 meters, that the mushroom-shaped cloud rose to a height of 6,000 meters." The flash from the explosion that was Yamato's death knell was seen as far away as Kagoshima on the Japanese mainland. The explosion also reportedly destroyed several American airplanes observing the sinking.
When it was all over, the Surface Special Attack Force had been almost completely destroyed. Yamato, the cruiser Yahagi and three destroyers were sunk. Several other escorts had been seriously damaged. Gone with the great battleship were 2,498 of its 2,700-person crew.
The destruction of Yamato was inevitable even as far back as the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was clear that the age of the aircraft carrier had already superseded the battleship, but the insistence of battleship-minded general officers to cling to obsolete military technology undermined Japan's conduct of the war and sent thousands of Japanese sailors needlessly to their deaths. The story of the Yamato is a warning to all armed forces that the march of war technology is merciless and unsentimental.
Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.
Thanks to Micro
Just saw this compilation of events, along with their connections, related to all the intel agencies working against Trump:  It's long but worth a read, along with the comments at the end.
Also, a link in those comments is to this:  It's time line of significant events associated with Russia, Trump, Hillary, DNC, etc. over the past couple of years.  You can copy and paste it into a spreadsheet for easy reading.
Thanks to John….In case you missed it last Fall

Subject: Gravity is overrated - so cool ft5aY1I22j4
Item Number:1 Date: 01/10/2018 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN TURNS TO NEW WAYS TO MAKE MONEY AFTER COALITION TARGETS DRUG FACILITIES (JAN 10/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Coalition airstrikes on drug-processing labs in Afghanistan may be forcing the Taliban to find new ways to finance its insurgency, reports the Voice of America News.   Taliban officials say the group has set up a new customs house in the Delaram district in the southern part of the southwestern Nimruz province.   The new revenue-collection efforts follow joint Afghan-coalition airstrikes on Taliban narcotics labs in the southern Helmand province in November 2017. The U.S. says it will continue to target the labs.   The Taliban said in a statement that on Jan. 13 it would start to collect a transit tax in the Nimruz and southwestern Farah provinces. Such taxes are also being implemented in Helmand, according to local officials.   The group has been pursuing a range of criminal activity, including kidnapping and extortion and the smuggling of drugs, minerals and precious stones to finance their insurgency, Afghan officials said.   The coalition estimates that about 60 percent of Taliban revenues come from drug-smuggling.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 01/10/2018 CANADA - JOINT SUPPORT SHIP PROGRAM FACES NEW DELAYS (JAN 10/OC)  OTTAWA CITIZEN -- The Royal Canadian Navy's plan to build new supply ships has run into additional delays, reports the Ottawa Citizen.   Ottawa has provided no information about the length of the delay, but acknowledged that Can$20 million (US$16 million) that was to be spent on the project by April 2018 would not be released until a later date.   The government has not indicated what that payment is intended to cover.   The decision to hold off on spending the funds was "due to delays in project approvals and contract awards, delay in construction of ships," the Dept. of National Defense told the newspaper in an email.   The government told lawmakers in November that it could not provide a schedule for the delivery of the Joint Support Ships (JSS) because such information is classified.   The JSS program has experienced a number of delays over the years. The navy planned to receive the first vessel in 2021 and the second in 2022. It is not clear how the latest delay might affect that schedule
Item Number:3 Date: 01/10/2018 EGYPT - 8 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS IN NORTH SINAI DIE IN GUN BATTLE WITH POLICE (JAN 10/AHRAM)  AHRAM ONLINE -- Egyptian police have killed eight suspected terrorists during a shootout in el-Arish, North Sinai, reports Al Ahram (Cairo).   Fighting broke out on Tuesday when security forces raided a suspected terror training camp in the city's el-Risa neighborhood, said an Interior Ministry statement.   Police tracked the group to their hideout in North Sinai, where officials said the group launched attacks on security forces and actively recruited new members.   Weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered at the site, said police.   Terrorist activity in the Sinai peninsula has become a major concern for Cairo. At least 305 people were killed in a Nov. 24, 2017, attack on a Sufi mosque in the Sinai by the Islamic State terrorist group's local affiliate, Sinai Province.  
Item Number:4 Date: 01/10/2018 ISRAEL - HAMAS OFFICIAL CRITICALLY INJURED IN 'ACCIDENT' AT HOME (JAN 10/ALAQSATV)  AL AQSA TELEVISION -- A senior Hamas official is in critical condition after being shot in the head in an accident, reports the group's Al Aqsa television.   Imad al-Alami was shot in the head Tuesday morning at his home in the Gaza Strip, said a statement on the militant group's website. A spokesman described his health condition as "critical."   He was taken to a Gaza City hospital, where he was treated.   The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry said that al-Alami was injured while checking his weapon, denying reports that there had been an assassination attempt.   A founding member of Hamas, al-Alami served as the group's representative to Iran and was the deputy head of the political bureau.   The U.S. declared al-Alami a specially designated global terrorist in 2003, noted BBC News. He was said to be especially close to Hamas supporters in Iran and Syria and to hold sway over the group's militant activities
Item Number:5 Date: 01/10/2018 ISRAEL - RABBI SHOT DEAD NEAR ILLEGAL WEST BANK SETTLEMENT (JAN 10/YNET)  YNET NEWS -- An Israeli has been killed in a drive-by shooting in a West Bank settlement, reports Ynet News (Israel).   Rabbi Raziel Shevah, 35, was shot on Tuesday night near his home in the illegal West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad, 6 miles (10 km) west of Nablus, reported Haaretz.   The killer pulled up to his car on Route 60 and opened fire before fleeing into the night, said the Israeli military.   Israeli Defense Forces troops, including special operations forces, spread out across the Nablus area searching for the killer, reported Ynet. Roadblocks were set up around the town and much of the area was on lockdown, reported Haaretz.   In response to the attack, several pro-settler politicians asked that such settlements be recognized by Israeli authorities, reported the Times of Israel.   While Israel builds some settlements in the West Bank, others are not sanctioned by the Israeli government.   There were no immediate claims of responsibility.  
  Item Number:6 Date: 01/10/2018 ISRAEL - UVISION SHOWS OFF LATEST LOITERING MUNITION (JAN 10/UVIS)  UVISION -- Israeli defense firm UVision Air says it has successfully demonstrated an extended-range loitering weapon system for a strategic customer.   The Hero-400EC unmanned aerial vehicle showed off its tracking and lock-on capabilities against a moving vehicle and a human target in several operational scenarios during the demonstration in southern Israel in December 2017, the company said in a release on Jan. 8.   The system also demonstrated its mission-abort and precision-strike capabilities.   The Hero-400EC features a new electric motor that provides high-speed transit and low-speed loitering capabilities while minimizing acoustic and thermal signatures.   The cruciform aerodynamic configuration enables precise terminal engagement against static and moving targets in confined urban environments, reducing potential collateral damage, said UVision.   Armed with a multi-purpose, 22-pound (10-kg), tandem high-explosive warhead, the Hero-400EC can engage a range of targets, including fortified positions and tanks.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 01/10/2018 JAPAN - SM-3 BLOCK IIA INTERCEPTORS SOUGHT FROM U.S. TO BOLSTER MISSILE DEFENSES (JAN 10/DSCA)  U.S. DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY -- The U.S. State Dept. has approved the possible sale of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles to Japan, reports the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.   The proposed US$133.3 million deal covers up to four SM-3 Block IIA missiles and four Mk 29 missile canisters, along with technical assistance and logistical support, said an agency release on Jan. 9.   If completed, the sale would improve the ballistic missile defense capability of Japan, said the statement.   The principal contractors would be Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., and BAE Systems, Minneapolis, Minn.   Last month, the Japanese Cabinet approved a plan to buy two U.S.-built land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense systems, reported CNN
Item Number:8 Date: 01/10/2018 PAKISTAN - SUICIDE BOMBER TARGETS POLICE IN QUETTA; 7 KILLED (JAN 10/GEONEWS)  GEO NEWS -- At least seven people have been killed in a suicide attack in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, reports Geo News (Pakistan).   On Tuesday, a bomber detonated himself next to a police truck parked on Quetta's busy Zarghoon road, killing himself along with five police officers and two passersby, reported Agence France-Presse.   Twenty-three people were injured in the attack, including eight police officers, said provincial police officials cited by Reuters.   The explosion took place near Baluchistan's legislature.   The attack was claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban), reported Al Jazeera (Qatar
Item Number:10 Date: 01/10/2018 SYRIA - ARMY WEAPONS DEPOT BLOWS UP IN LATAKIA (JAN 10/SOHR)  SYRIAN OBSERVATORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS -- A Syrian army weapon's facility east of the port city of Lataki in northwestern Syria has exploded, reports the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.   The explosion rocked the town of Slinfah on Wednesday morning, reported China's official Xinhua news agency.   The blast caused significant damage and resulted in a number of casualties among regime forces in the area, the observatory said.   Pro-government activists cited by Xinhua said the blast occurred in an old weapon depot, wounding some but causing no fatalities. They denied the possibility of a terror attack.   Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported that three soldiers were killed.   Al Masdar News (Syria) reported that the explosion was the result of a terrorist drone attack.   Latakia, the hometown of President Bashar Assad, largely supports the government and has resisted attempts at rebel encroachment.   The province is also home to the Russian-operated Hmeimim air base, which has come under repeated attack in recent weeks.  
Item Number:12 Date: 01/10/2018 USA - CLASSIFIED SATELLITE DESTROYED IN SPACEX LAUNCH (JAN 10/CNBC)  CNBC -- A classified U.S. government satellite was destroyed after failing to separate successfully from its rocket, reports CNBC.   The secretive payload -- code-named Zuma -- burned up in the atmosphere after the failed separation from the upper part of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, reported the Dow Jones Newswires.   The rocket landed safely after the launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.   Northrop Grumman, the builder of the satellite, possibly worth billions of dollars, said it could not comment on classified missions.   SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., said there was no evidence that the Falcon 9 rocket had done anything wrong.   The data reviewed at the time indicated that no design, operational or other changes were needed, the company said.   This was the private company's third launch for the U.S. military, noted Ars Technica
Item Number:13 Date: 01/10/2018 USA - MARINES NEED MORE SHIPS TO PREPARE FOR AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT OPS (JAN 10/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- The Marine Corps does not have enough ships available to train for larger amphibious assault missions, reports the Marine Corps Times.   There are growing concerns among senior Marine officials and defense experts that the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are not sufficiently trained or equipped to conduct a large-scale amphibious operation without suffering catastrophic casualties and facing uncertain prospects for success.   The Navy's fleet of amphibious assault ships is vulnerable to coastal attacks from a well-equipped enemy, such as China, because the vessels lack the necessary fires, sensors and combat formations to counter such systems, according to top military and government officials.   The fleet is also too small to allow the Marines to practice large-scale amphibious assaults.   Marine Expeditionary Units of about 2,000 Marines on a single ship are able to train regularly. However, the Navy is rarely able to provide enough ships for Marines to train in the larger formations needed for a significant amphibious assault.   The Navy's overall fleet has been shrinking for decades. It had 62 amphibious warfare ships in the 1990s. This has fallen to 32.   The Marines say they need around 50 amphibious ships. Current plans call for reaching 34 by fiscal 2021, with a goal of 38 by 2033
    Item Number:14 Date: 01/10/2018 USA - NAVY BEGINS TESTING JAGM MISSILE ON AH-1Z ATTACK HELICOPTERS (JAN 10/NAVAIR)  NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND -- The U.S. Navy has successfully completed an initial flight-test of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) on the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter, reports the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).   During the Dec. 5 flight, the aircrew navigated the missile through various operational modes and exercised its active seeker to search for and acquire targets, demonstrating its compatibility with the helicopter, said a NAVAIR release on Jan. 9.   The missile performed as planned, said JAGM program officials. Further testing was scheduled ahead of initial live-fire testing of the JAGM on the AH-1Z in early 2018.   The JAGM is a precision-guided munition designed to defeat stationary, moving and relocatable land and maritime targets. The missile features a multi-mode seeker to provide targeting day or night, in adverse weather and battlefield obscured conditions against a range of countermeasures, said the release.   The weapon will initially be employed on Army AH-64 Apache and Marine Corps AH-1Z attack helicopters. The Army plans to complete a 48-shot test series by May 2018 on the AH-64 ahead of a production decision.  
 Item Number:15 Date: 01/10/2018 USA - STATE DEPT. TO OPEN OFFICIAL INQUIRY INTO MYSTERIOUS ILLNESSES AT EMBASSY IN CUBA (JAN 10/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- The U.S. State Dept. is opening a formal inquiry into events that left 24 U.S. personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Havana sick or injured in late 2016, reports the New York Times.   Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the move Tuesday after a Senate hearing on the matter.   Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whose parents came from Cuba, criticized the slow pace of the investigation, and said the department "did not follow the law" in failing to set up a review board months ago.   Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs Steve Goldstein rejected accusations of inaction. He added that a review of the incident was moving forward and that he believed Havana knew who or what was behind the attacks.   The State Dept.'s Accountability Review Board will examine all evidence relating to the crime.   In the Senate hearing, the State Dept.'s medical director said it was difficult to identify the cause of the mysterious symptoms, which range from dizziness and fatigue to hearing loss, in some cases permanently, reported NPR.   An FBI report issued last week concluded that a sonic weapon was probably not the cause of the illnesses. A viral attack remained a possibility, said a State Dept. security official.   The alleged attacks have strained U.S.-Cuba relations. In October 2017, the U.S. expelled 15 Cuban diplomats in response
  Item Number:16 Date: 01/10/2018 YEMEN - PILOTS RESCUED AFTER TORNADO STRIKE JET GOES DOWN (JAN 10/SAUDIPA)  SAUDI PRESS AGENCY -- The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has announced the evacuation of the pilots of a Saudi fighter jet that went down on Jan. 7, reports the Saudi Press Agency.   The British-built Tornado fighter experienced a technical failure after completing a mission in Yemen and crashed in the northwestern Saada province.   The pilots survived and were rescued in a joint search-and-rescue operation in the operational area, said a coalition spokesman.   The Houthi rebels claimed they shot down the fighter on their Al-Masirah television station, noted Al Jazeera (Qatar).

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