Monday, May 7, 2018

Fw: TheList 4714

The List 4714

To All
I hope that you all have a great weekend. Today is Star Wars Day- May the 4th be with you.
This Day In Naval History – May 4, 2018
May 4
1917—Destroyer Division 8, commanded by Cmdr. Joseph K. Taussig, arrives at Queenstown, Ireland, to protect convoy escorts against German U-Boats.
1942—Battle of the Coral Sea begins when TF 17 attacks the Japanese Tulagi Invasion Force at Tulagi, Solomons.
1945—During the Okinawa Campaign, the Japanese attempt to land on Okinawa but are repulsed by the Allied naval forces. Kamikazes attack and sink: USS Luce (DD 522), USS Morrison (DD 560), USS LSM 190, USS LSM 194. Damaged by the suicide bombers are USS Birmingham (CL 62) and USS Sangamon (CVE 26).
1961—Cmdr. Malcolm D. Ross, pilot, and medical observer Lt. Cmdr. Victor A. Prather, Jr, ascend in two hours to more than 110,000 feet in Strato-Lab 5, setting an altitude record for manned open gondola. Tragically Prather drowned during the recovery
2013—USS Anchorage (LPD 23) is commissioned in her namesake city. The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock is the second ship to be named after the Alaskan city.  
Son of Quote of the day
On this day in history (May 4):
1968: McDonald's Big Mac Hamburger debuts.  That's two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles,  (onions)  on a sesame seed bun!
1970: The Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on students during an anti-Vietnam war protest at Kent State University. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded.
1973: A world record for hamburger eating was set by University of Rhode Island student Bob Matern, who ate 83 of them in 2 1/2 hours.
And today is:
National Candied Orange Peel Day  (honestly, I do not make these up!)
May 5
1944—The hospital ship, USS Comfort (AH 6), is commissioned at San Pedro, CA, and is the first ship to be manned jointly by U.S. Army and U.S. Navy personnel.
1948—Fighter Squadron Seventeen A (VF-17A), with 16 FH-1 Phantoms, becomes the first carrier-qualified jet squadron in the U.S. Navy.
1961—Cmdr. Alan Shepard Jr. makes the first U.S. manned space flight. USS Lake Champlain (CVS 39) recovers the capsule after the 15 minute flight.
1979—USS Robert E. Peary (FF 1073) rescues 440 Vietnamese refugees from their disabled craft 400 miles south of Thailand.
2007—USS Hawaii (SSN 776) is commissioned at Groton, CT. The Virginia-class submarine is the first to be named after the Aloha State.
2012—USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14) is launched at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, CA. The Military Sea Lift Command's dry cargo ammunition ship honors the prominent civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, who served in the Navy during World War II and later founded the National Farm Works Association, which becomes the United Farm Workers union.
2017—Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, of Falmouth, Maine, is killed during a Somali National Army-led operation with U.S. Africa Command against al-Shabaab May 5 in a remote area approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.
May 6
1860—The sloop-of-war Portsmouth, commanded by John Calhoun, captures the slaver brig Falmouth off Porto Praya.
1908—The Great White Fleet anchors in San Francisco Bay, CA. The fleet is delayed from its round-the-world cruise after both Rear Adm. Robley D. Evans and Rear Adm. Charles M. Thomas fall ill. On May 15, Rear Adm. Charles S. Sperry assumed command and completes the cruise ending Feb. 22, 1909.
1916—The first ship-to-shore radio telephone voice conversation was held on board USS New Hampshire (BB 25) off the Virginia Capes.
1944—USS Buckley (DE 51) rams German submarine U 66 while TBMs (VC 55) from USS Block Island (CVE 21) attack U 66 near Cape Verdes.
1945—USS Farquhar (DE 139) sinks the last German submarine, U 881, in the North Atlantic.
1995—USNS Laramie (T-AO 203) is launched at the Avondale Shipyard, Inc. at New Orleans, LA. The Henry J. Kaiser-class underway replenishment oiler is operated by the Military Sealift Command. The Laramie enters non-commissioned U.S. Navy service May 7, 1996.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
Top national news includes the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, leading to mandatory evacuations of nearby homes; and Rudy Giuliani's public comments about President Trump and attorney Michael Cohen over Story Daniels reimbursement. The Virginian-Pilot interviewed Adm. Phil Davidson about his time as the Commander of US Fleet Forces and his coming role as the head of U.S. Pacific Command.  The New York Times reports that President Trump has ordered the Pentagon to prepare options for reducing American troops in the Korean peninsula ahead of the coming summit with North Korea. Additionally, MCPON Giordano continues pushing his new initiative, "Laying the Keel: Developing the Backbone of our Navy," as he tours the Indo-Pacific region.
Today in History
May 4
In England, the Yorkists defeat the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury.
American Indians sell Manhattan Island for $24 in cloth and buttons.
A French manufacturer debuts the first folding umbrella.
Rhode Island declares independence from England.
Thousands of rioters enter jails in Lyons, France, and massacre 99 Jacobin prisoners.
Napoleon Bonaparte disembarks at Portoferraio on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.
The Battle of Chancellorsville ends when Union Army retreats.
Union General Ulysses S. Grant's forces cross the Rapidan River and meet Robert E. Lee's Confederate army.
A balloon soars over 40,000 feet for the first time.
Mahatma Gandhi is arrested by the British.
The United States begins food rationing.
13 civil rights activists, dubbed Freedom Riders, begin a bus trip through the South.
Ohio National Guardsmen open fire on student protesters at Kent State University, killing four and wounding nine others.
Israel Mounts Daring Operation Against Tehran
Thanks to Tam -
Aaaaaaaaand now we know the rest of the story! 
Israel Mounts Daring Operation Against Tehran
Enforces its red lines in Syria.
May 3, 2018
On Sunday, in the late evening hours, a mysterious explosion rocked an army base belonging to Bashar Assad's 47th Brigade near the city of Hama. Other targets near Aleppo were also reportedly hit. The blast at Hama was so powerful that it generated massive seismic activity, registering 2.6 on the Richter magnitude scale according to the European Mediterranean Seismological Center.
But this was no earthquake. It was a precision military strike aimed at destroying a large cache of missiles recently airlifted by Tehran from Mehrabad airbase to Hama's military airport, through Iraqi airspace. Iran effectively controls Baghdad making the task of illegally transporting contraband through Iraqi airspace a rather simple affair.
According to reports, the strike hit pay dirt, igniting a stockpile of some 200 rockets and missiles, including anti-aircraft missiles, and generating a series of enormous secondary explosions. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 40 pro-regime mercenaries were killed in the blasts and some 60 were wounded. The SOHR noted that the death toll could climb. The semi-official Iranian news agency INSA reported that at least 18 Iranians were killed including a commander, a claim swiftly denied by the Islamic Republic, which for obvious reasons doesn't like to advertise its losses or show images of its elite troops coming home in body bags. Satellite images of the site taken shortly after the blasts revealed widespread destruction with at least 13 buildings either severely damaged or leveled entirely. 
Iran and Syria initially blamed Israel for the attack but swiftly backtracked claiming that the attack was carried out by the United States and Britain. Some conspiracy theorists have even suggested that the Russians were responsible. These claims are dubious at best and in all likelihood, the attack was executed by the Israeli Air Force, a claim corroborated by three unnamed U.S. officials according to NBC. The Iranian/Syrian vacillation concerning assignment of blame remains a mystery.
Israel, which has carried out over 100 strikes in Syria in recent years, has no interest in being dragged into the Syrian quagmire but has set its own red lines that if crossed, would trigger a robust military response. Israeli leaders have repeatedly warned that they would not tolerate the transfer of sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah, Iran's proxy militia that effectively controls Lebanon. More importantly, Israel is concerned about Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the possibility that Iran is seeking to open up another front against Israel.
Israeli fears are not unwarranted and have been proven correct. In Mid-February, the Iranians sent an explosive-laden drone, modeled after a captured American RQ-170, into the Jordan Valley. The UAV, which was being tracked by the Israelis from the moment it was launched, was promptly shot down by an Apache attack helicopter of the 113th Squadron. Israel then struck and destroyed the UAV's control vehicle but an F-16 was shot down in the process. Both pilots safely ejected. Israel responded by destroying 1/3 to 1/2 of Syria's surface-to-air missile batteries and further struck four Iranian bases.
In early April, Israel struck the T-4 airbase near the Syrian city of Homes severely disrupting Iranian drone operations in Syria. According to the SOHR, at least 14 people, including Syrian army personnel were killed. Iran admitted to the loss of 7 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps operatives including a colonel who was in charge of Iranian drone operations in Syria.
The heightened tensions come amidst the revelation of an astonishing Israeli intelligence coup. Early this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed to the world that Israeli intelligence agents (probably belonging to the Mossad) had seized a half-ton worth of documents and CDs containing top secret information regarding Iran's opaque weaponized nuclear program that the Islamic Republic tried to conceal from the IAEA and the international community. The documents were seized from a highly secure facility in Tehran, which was only known to a few high-level Iranians, "and a few Israelis," as Netanyahu dryly noted with a satisfying grin.
The Mossad's intelligence coup resulted in a second ancillary achievement. It succeeded in sowing discord and suspicion within the highest echelons of the mullah establishment. The news of the Israeli action was greeted in Tehran with a wave of arrests. The mullahs are pointing accusatory fingers at each other with no one willing to accept responsibility for the embarrassing fiasco. 
As part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran's leaders were required to come clean about their past nuclear activities but they blatantly lied when they asserted that they had no weaponized nuclear program, an assertion flatly contradicted by the seized documents. The entire deal was thus premised on a lie. Moreover, the documents show that Iran violated clause T82.1 of the JCPOA which prohibits Iran from engaging in "activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device." Iran's retention of this technology and its attempts to conceal it from inspectors by transferring it to secretive locations constitutes a serious breach of the agreement.
President Trump has sought to modify the agreement by ending the JCPOA's sunset clauses on Iranian uranium enrichment, allowing unfettered inspections of sites like the highly opaque Parchin facility, which is currently off limits to inspectors, and curbing Iranian ICBM testing and development. Given Iran's penchant for lying (confirmed by the seizure of the documents) and its increased aggressive stance and malign influence on five continents, these demands are quite reasonable. 
On May 12, Trump is set to decide whether the United States will pull out of the JCPOA. The daring Israeli operation has exposed Iran for what it is and has undoubtedly tilted the balance heavily in favor of those who believe that the Iran deal, standing as is, has harmed rather than helped the cause of world peace.   
With our thanks to THE Bear at
May 3, 2018  Bear Taylor 
GOOD MORNING: Day SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY of a remembrance of the air war fought over North Vietnam fifty years ago called ROLLING THUNDER…
HEAD LINES from THE NEW YORK TIMES on Saturday, 4 May 1968…
Page 1: "PEACE TALKS SET FOR PARIS–U.S. ACCEPTS HANOI'S PLAN TO BEGIN IN ABOUT A WEEK–Johnson Cautious–But Voices Hope For 'Serious Movement'  For a Settlement"… "The United States and North Vietnam agreed today to begin formal talks in Paris next Friday or soon thereafter. The break in the deadlock  over a place to meet was apparently unexpected here. It came during the night in a message delivered to the United States Embassy in Laos. President Johnson accepted the arrangements in a return message this morning and then announced the agreement at a news conference that had been previously scheduled . Mr. Johnson said he hoped the agreement 'can represent a mutual and a serious movement by all parties toward peace in Southeast Asia,' but he cautioned that he foresees 'many, many hazards and difficulties ahead.'"… Page 17: "PRESIDENT BRIEFS TRUMAN ON WAR– Flys To Independence To Ask For Former President's Support On Peace Talks"... Page 14: "Hanoi's Top Negotiator: Xuan Thuy"… "The North Vietnamese who will serve as his country's chief representative in the forthcoming preliminary peace talks in Paris is regarded by those who know him as a tough and wily negotiator."… Page 14: "HANOI'S DECISION LINKED TO MAJOR MILITARY PUSH–Some U.S. Aides Say It May Coincide With Peace Talks"… "Some officials believe that a major military push will be timed by the enemy to coincide with the early phases of the preliminary peace talks in Paris, and with the intensive political campaign in the United States."…
THE WAR: Page 1: "ALLIES MAUL FOE–KILL 856 NEAR DONGHA AND REPEL DIVISION–JETS STRIKE NORTH"… "United States marines and South Vietnamese troops have hurled back a North Vietnamese division near Dongha, killing 856 of the enemy…American casualites in the four-day battle were 68 killed and 323 wounded seriously enough to be evacuated… South Vietnamese casualties were described as light….the assault on the Marine base at Dongha in South Vietnam's northernmost province, was the first time in the war that the enemy had massed a full division of troops for a single strike….The battle for the base opened Tuesday by more than 8,000 North Vietnamese troops who swept southward from the demilitarized zone. The allies with a total force of about 5,000 men, broke the back of the attack yesterday when the enemy withdrew after making a counterattack about five miles north of Dongha. United States jets struck repeatedly at the retreating North Vietnamese.
Much more from the Bear at
Thanks to Ed
Year of the Aircraft Carriier - Parts 3 and 4 The Battle of the Coral Sea (5)
Next offerings in the series (4-8 May, 1942 - The Battle of the Coral Sea)
            "Scratch one flattop!"
1942 – The Year of the Aircraft Carrier; Part 3 – The Four Battles
1942 – The Year of the Aircraft Carrier; Part 4 – The Battle of the Coral Sea
For your reflection:
China installs cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts: CNBC
Coming: Midway and Guadalcanal
Ed 'Boris' Beakley
Israel's Capture of Iranian Nuclear data
Thanks to Doctor Rich
Thanks to Bill …
Revealed: New details about Mossad's 'greatest operation', exposing Iran's secret nuclear program
 May 2, 2018
Revealed: New details about Mossad's 'greatest operation', exposing Iran's secret nuclear program
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"From an operational aspect, this is amazing, and all credit goes to the Mossad people. This is one of the greatest intelligence operations in the State of Israel's history," Israel's Intelligence Minister said...
By: World Israel News Staff
New details have emerged about the Mossad's daring mission in Tehran through it successfully captured half a ton of documents on Iran's secret and illicit nuclear program.
New York Times report on Monday quoted a "senior Israeli official" who said that Israel's Mossad intelligence service discovered the warehouse located in the Shorabad suburb in southern Tehran in February 2016, and had the building under surveillance since then.
"From the outside, this was an innocent looking compound. It looks like a dilapidated warehouse. But from the inside, it contained Iran's secret atomic archives locked in massive files," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday when he exposed Project Amad, Iran's secret project to build a nuclear bomb.
"Few Iranians knew where it was, very few, and also a few Israelis," Netanyahu added.
Mossad operatives broke into the building one night last January, removed the original documents and smuggled them back to Israel the same night, the Times said.
Israel's Hadashot news reported that the files were removed from the Islamic Republic during a hot pursuit with Iranian security forces "on their tails."
President Donald Trump was briefed on the operation by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen on a visit to Washington in January, the Times reported.
The delay in making the material public until now was the result of a need to analyze the documents, the vast majority of which were in Persian, the Times added.
The bold espionage operation required an expansive operational infrastructure within Iranian territory, Hadashot news said.
Speaking to Israel's Ynet News on Tuesday, Israel's Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said "he assumes" the Iranians knew Israel was in possession of the files that same night.
"When the idea of the operation was first presented, I didn't think it was feasible," Katz said in the interview. "What they did here is unprecedented. They took tons of authentic documents and brought them here."
"From an operational aspect, this is amazing, and all credit goes to the Mossad people. This is one of the greatest intelligence operations in the State of Israel's history," he added.
Israel obtained half a ton of the material inside that was locked away in vaults in the warehouse. The treasure trove of intelligence included 55,000 pages and another 55,000 files on 183 CDs.
Israel's Channel 10 News reported that Iranian authorities had launched a wave of arrests following Netanyahu's presentation, and those responsible could face execution.
Item Number:1 Date: 05/04/2018 AFGHANISTAN - COMMANDOS FIGHT TO RETAKE KOHISTAN DISTRICT FROM TALIBAN (MAY 04/TN)  TOLONEWS -- Afghan commandops and other security forces have launched an operation to retake the Kohistan district in the northern Badakhshan province after it fell to a Taliban assault, reports the Tolo News (Afghanistan).   On Thursday, Taliban militants overran the headquarters of Kohistan district in the northern Badakhshan province, said an anonymous local official cited by Xinhua, China's state news agency.   Security forces pulled out of the Kohistan police headquarters after they failed to receive shipments of supplies and reinforcements, said a provincial police spokesman cited by Reuters.   The Taliban claimed to have killed 15 government soldiers and lost two of its own. Weapons were also seized.   The commandos arrived around midnight and have fought their way to the center of Kohistan, said provincial officials.   With the additional forces, several areas in the Kohistan and Raghistan districts will be cleared, said police.   Residents blamed government neglect for the Taliban attack
Item Number:6 Date: 05/04/2018 PAKISTAN - 2 KILLED IN ATTACK ON ATOMIC AGENCY VEHICLE (MAY 04/DAWN)  DAWN -- At least two people have been killed and 14 injured in an attack targeting members of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission in Punjab province, reports Dawn (Pakistan).   On Thursday, a bus belonging to the nuclear agency in the Attock district was attacked, killing the driver and one bystander.   Officials said a gunman opened fire on the bus as it slowed down at a speed bump. The driver got off the bus to confront the attacker, who then set off his explosives, killing himself, the driver and a passerby.   Police told the Press Trust of India that the gunman opened fire on the bus and then set off his explosives near the vehicle as it slowed down at a speed bump.   Most of the injured were employees of the Atomic Energy Commission. They were taken to the hospital for treatment.   There were no immediate claims of responsibility
  Item Number:9 Date: 05/04/2018 SYRIA - REBELS IN HOMS, HAMA LAY DOWN ARMS; ISIS CLINGS TO LAST TERRITORY NEAR DAMASCUS (MAY 04/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Rebels in the central Syrian provinces of Homs and Hama have begun handing over their weapons to government forces as part of an evacuation deal, reports Agence France-Presse.   On Thursday, fighters began surrendering their weapons in the towns of Talbisseh, Rastan and Al-Houla, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based watchdog group.   The surrender, which included heavy and medium weapons, continued on Friday, said the monitoring group.   Once the handover is complete, the rebels will be given safe passage to Jarablus, Aleppo province, and Idlib province.   Turkish-backed rebels control much of Jarablus. Idlib is the last province in Syria that remains largely in the hands of rebels.   With the towns cleared of opposition forces, the government will be able to reopen a key highway connecting the capital, Damascus, with Aleppo, the second-largest city in the country.   The government also reached a separate deal with rebels south of the capital on Friday. Rebels in Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham were bussed out of the territory to rebel-held areas in the north.   Fighters from the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) still hold the areas of al-Hajar al-Aswad and the Yarmouk refugee camp, both directly south of Damascus, despite heavy fighting, reported Reuters
  Item Number:10 Date: 05/04/2018 UNITED KINGDOM - BRITISH REAPERS EMPLOYING THERMOBARIC WEAPONS IN SYRIA, SAYS CAMPAIGN GROUP (MAY 04/DWUK)  DRONE WARS U.K. -- In response to a freedom of information request, the U.K. Ministry of Defense has revealed the use of thermobaric weapons against militants in Syria, reports Drone Wars UK, an anti-drone campaign group.   The official statement says British MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft employed AGM-114N4 Hellfire missiles 19 times during January and February 2018.   The AGM-114N4 is equipped with a metal augmented charge warhead that incorporates aluminum with the standard explosive. Upon detonation, the aluminum rapidly burns creating a high-pressure shockwave that is immediately followed by a forceful vacuum. The weapon is designed to target individuals in enclosed spaces, such as buildings, fortifications or tunnels, said the Middle East Eye.   Thermobaric weapons are controversial because they tend to kill through blast wave pressure, said experts.   Thermobaric weapons are legal, though rights groups argue that their large blast area makes them indiscriminate and unsuitable for use in densely populated areas.   The U.K. has conducted significantly more drone strikes in Syria in 2018, firing as many weapons in the first three months as they had over the previous 18 months, according to figures obtained by the Middle East Eye
Item Number:11 Date: 05/04/2018 USA - AIR FORCE ANNOUNCES PLANNED BASES FOR NEW STEALTH BOMBER (MAY 04/AFNS)  AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- The U.S. Air Force has announced three future homes for its in-development B-21 Raider bomber, reports the Air Force News Service.   The service has chosen Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; Ellsworth AFB, S.D. and Whiteman AFB, Mo., to host the new stealth bomber, which is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s. Using existing bomber bases will minimize operational impact, maximize the re-use of facilities and reduce costs, the service said in a May 2 release.   The B-21 will eventually replace the B-1, B-2, and B-52 bombers. The service says it plans to operate the B-52 through 2050.   A final basing decision is expected in 2019 after the completion of necessary environmental assessments and regulatory and planning processes
Item Number:12 Date: 05/04/2018 USA - CHINESE TROOPS TARGET U.S. AIRCRAFT IN DJIBOUTI WITH LASERS, SAYS PENTAGON (MAY 04/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- U.S. military officials have lodged a diplomatic protest with China after lasers were pointed at U.S. aircraft flying over Djibouti, reports CNN.   On Thursday, the U.S. issued a notice to airmen to "to exercise caution when flying in certain areas in Djibouti," after complaints that other pilots were exposed to bright flashes from laser beams, temporarily blinding them.   The complaints extend over a period of several weeks. Two airmen were temporarily blinded by a bright flash in the cockpit of their C-130 cargo aircraft.   The number of incidents has increased in frequency recently, said a Pentagon spokeswoman cited by the Washington Post.   U.S. officials say they are confident that the lights emanated from a nearby Chinese base.   China uses similar weapons to interfere with U.S. aircraft in the South China Sea, said defense officials.   According to a 2015 report in the official People's Liberation Army Daily, China has at least four laser weapons that can cause blindness.   The State Dept. lodged a protest with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.   China denies any involvement in the incident.   The Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, which China and the U.S. have signed, prohibits the use of blinding laser weapons as a means or method of warfare
  Item Number:14 Date: 05/04/2018 USA - SPECIAL OPS FORCES QUIETLY WORKING WITH SAUDIS IN FIGHT AGAINST HOUTHI REBELS (MAY 04/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- U.S. special operations forces may be assisting Saudi efforts in Yemen more than previously thought, reports the New York Times.   About a dozen U.S Green Berets arrived on the Saudi border with Yemen late last year, the newspaper reported on Thursday.   The special operations forces are helping Saudi troops locate and destroy caches of missiles belonging to the Houthi rebel group, said U.S. officials and European diplomats.   U.S. forces are also involved in training Saudi personnel and working closely with U.S. intelligence analysts in Saudi Arabia to track Houthi missiles and their launch sites, said the officials.   The training is focused on border security, officials said.   There are no reports of U.S. forces leaving Saudi territory.   These deployments seem to contradict statements from U.S. officials, who said that American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition was limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and intelligence-sharing.   Since the beginning of the war against the Houthis in 2015, the rebel group has launched more than 100 missiles into Saudi territory
  Item Number:15 Date: 05/04/2018 USA - TRUMP REVIEWING OPTIONS FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM S. KOREA (MAY 04/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to prepare contingencies for removing U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula, reports the New York Times.   The reductions will not be a concession to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un during upcoming talks, U.S. officials said.   Instead, Trump is examining the possibility that U.S. troops might not be needed to secure peace on the peninsula in the event of a peace treaty between the two Koreas, the newspaper said on May 3.   Whether Trump was examining a full or partial withdrawal was unclear.   The review also coincides with negotiations with South Korea over cost-sharing for military forces.   South Korea currently pays half of the cost for keeping U.S. troops in the country, amounting to US$800 million annually.   With the deal set to expire at the end of 2018, Trump is asking Seoul to shoulder most of the costs associated with the U.S. deployments.   Seoul emphasized this week that the U.S. forces were still needed and would not be withdrawn under any peace treaty with North Korea.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 05/04/2018 USA - UPGRADED NUCLEAR BOMB PERFORMING WELL IN TESTS, GENERAL SAYS (MAY 04/MIL)  MILITARY.COM -- The U.S. Air Force's program to upgrade the B61 nuclear gravity bomb is going smoothly, according to the deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, as reported by   Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein said the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb has completed "26 engineering, development and guided flight tests." The general did not specify which platforms were included in the most recent testing. The F-35, which is scheduled to begin carrying the weapon at some point in the 2020s, completed a vibrations test in 2015 with the B61-12 in its internal weapons bay.   The upgraded B61-12 is slated to be carried by B-2 and future B-21 Raider stealth bombers. The B61-12 also completed its final developmental flight test on a F-15E Strike Eagle fighter in 2015.   The B61-12 is the latest modification to the Air Force's primary variable yield gravity bomb, which was originally designed and produced starting in the 1960s. The service claims the new variant is three times more accurate than previous models.

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