Wednesday, May 1, 2019

TheList 4985

The List 4985 TGB

To All,
I hope that your week has started well. This is a Bubba Breakfast Friday in San
This day in Naval History April 30, 2019
1798 Congress establishes the Department of the Navy as a separate cabinet department. Previously, naval matters were under the cognizance of the War Department. Benjamin Stoddert is named as the first Secretary of the Navy.
1822 USS Alligator, commanded by Lt. W.W. McKean, captures the Colombian pirate schooner Ciehqua near the Windward Islands.
1942 USS Indiana (BB 58) is commissioned during World War II.
1944 USS Bang (SS 385) attacks a convoy engaged the previous night and sinks the Japanese merchant tanker Nittatsu Maru off the northwest of Luzon.  Also on this date, USS Flasher (SS 249) sinks the Vichy French gunboat Tahure in the South China Sea off Cape Varella, French Indochina. 
1945 USS Thomas (DE 102), USS Bostwick (DE 103), USS Coffman (DE 191) and frigate Natchez (PF 2) sink German submarine U 548 off the Virginia Capes.
1945 Navy patrol bombers PB4Y (VPB 103) and a PBY-5A Catalina aircraft flown by Lt. Fredrick G. Lake from VP 63 sink two German submarines off the coast of Brest, France.
2005 USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) conducts its second significant drug interdiction operation in the first month of its deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command area of responsibility, disrupting the smuggling of 4.6 metric tons of narcotics from the fishing vessel Salomon.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
In today's national headlines President Trump is suing to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from turning over his financial records to Congress, and the FBI reports that it thwarted a plot by an Army veteran to bomb a rally in Calif. In international news Japanese emperor Akihito abdicated the throne, becoming the country's first monarch in more than two centuries to step down. Speaking at a New America Foundation event, CNO Adm. John Richardson said that part of the Navy's new strategy in regards to great power competition is to "force our competitors to respond" reports Breaking Defense. "In the ideal world we would want our competitors to respond to our moves instead of us responding to them," said Richardson. U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. John Aquilino visited New Zealand where he assured the Five Eyes partner that its relationship with the U.S. is "extremely strong" reports Stuff. Additionally, USNI News detailed the challenges CNO nominee Adm. Bill Moran will face if confirmed.
This day in World History
April 30

Licinius unifies the whole of the eastern Roman Empire under his own rule.

King Louis IX of France is ransomed.

Henry VIII of England and King Francis of France sign the Treaty of Westminster.

All Jews are expelled from France by order of Charles VI.

Spain withdraws from the Quadruple Alliance.

George Washington is inaugurated as the first U.S. president.

The United States doubles in size through the Louisiana Purchase, which was sold by France for $15 million.

Louisiana is admitted into the Union as a state.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian patriot and guerrilla leader, repulses a French attack on Rome.

Work begins on the Dams along the Red River, which will allow Union General Nathaniel Banks' troops to sail over the rapids above Alexandria, Louisiana.

The Soviet Union proposes a military alliance with France and Great Britain.

The George Washington Bridge, linking New York City and New Jersey, opens.

The British submarine HMS Seraph drops 'the man who never was,' a dead man the British planted with false invasion plans, into the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain.

Adolf Hitler commits suicide in his bunker. Karl Donitz becomes his successor.

U.S. Marines attack a division of North Vietnamese troops in the village of Dai Do.

U.S. troops invade Cambodia to disrupt North Vietnamese Army base areas.

The North Vietnamese launch an invasion of the South.

President Richard Nixon announces the resignation of Harry Robbins Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and other top aides.

North Vietnamese troops enter the Independence Palace of South Vietnam in Saigon ending the Vietnam War.

Terrorists seize the Iranian Embassy in London.
Thanks to Dave who responded to Sunday's List.
I think I was the second fleet F-14 pilot to eject from the F-14.  We (VF-1) were on our way around the world on the Carl Vinson and stopped in Cubi, and Skip Giles and Roger McFillen were bouncing at night at Cubi and they ejected after their F-14 went out of control.  We weren't sure what happened--the damn airplane just went out of control.  A week or two later I was flying an F-14 with my RIO Jerry Kowlok on a day/VFR flight when we got a thump-bang and a fire light.  Maybe 30 seconds later the airplane went out of control (the flight stick didn't work anymore) and we ejected.  It was a beautiful sunny day and before long some guy (turned out he was a super-hero Navy diver rescue guy, whose chopper was right above me, but I didn't realize it because I was only semi-coherent at the time) was looking me in the face and asking me if I was okay.  I had hit the canopy on the way out and was hurt, but I was alive.  In fact, I am still alive at age 79, and grateful.  As you know, the F-14 was a neat airplane--even if it did blow up once in a while.
I remember interviewing Dave after a spectacular accident on the USS Ranger. It was during an F-14 Rag class Carrier Qual and an F-14 was catapulting off the USS Ranger and did not get a full shot and Dave was waiting behind the JBD for his turn. He was talking to his RIO and as I remember he was telling him that he (the RIO)was having an exciting day with his first  day Cat and Trap and had just had his first night trap and was about to get his first Night cat shot and as he was looking forward he saw the ejection and added to the rio that there goes his first cold Cat shot. The pilot of the F-14 had selected full burner in an attempt to save the aircraft and after the ejection the aircraft being light with fuel went below the level of the flight deck and then started a steep climb. Dave said he watched the plane climb straight up and still wings level watched it overhead flip over and head straight down toward the center of the flight deck. Dave said he watched it come and was going to reach for the face curtain and eject but decided against that and said f -it and sat there and watched it coming down. The rapid acceleration brought the nose of the F-14 up just enough so the plane impacted the water just ahead of the ship. Bear in mind that the afterburners were acting like a mini sun and had lit up the sky and as soon as the plane hit the water it was like someone had hit the off switch and it went dark. I was in Pri Fly when it happened and saw the whole thing. I was the OINC of the CQ det and got to write up the accident report.
By the way the RIO was picked up without incident, the pilot had been rolled up in his parachute by the ship's bow wave and almost was lost. And we determined that the final checker on the F-14 was legally blind at night and did not see that the launch bar was not fully seated.
Berlin Airlift: When American power was unstoppable
66th anniversary marks saving of German city from Soviet strangulation
By Thomas V. DiBacco

West Berlin children at Tempelhof Airport watch fleets of U.S. airplanes

In this era of increasing diplomatic friction with Russia over Ukraine, it would be well to remember that April 30 marks the 66th anniversary of the first, and most unbelievable, successes of American and Western foreign policy marking the beginning of the Cold War.
That was the first sign on April 30, 1949, that the Soviet Union started to ease its Berlin blockade of Western power access to the city by permitting limited canal traffic. A formal agreement ending the blockade came on May 4. It had been a 328-day siege, coming to an end thanks to the massive airlifting of supplies to the beleaguered city.
After World War II, Germany was divided into four temporary zones occupied by the United States, Great Britain, France and Soviet Union. Berlin was located 100 miles inside the eastern-located Soviet zone, and it, too, was divided into four zones, but essentially two as a result of Western powers merging their boundaries, a situation that also mirrored the larger geographical zones. Postwar agreements looked forward to a unified Germany, and Western powers initiated, first in 1947, an economic-aid program named after Secretary of State George Marshall and second in 1948, currency reform that would stabilize Germany's almost worthless existing monetary system.
The Soviets balked at both notions. Recognizing that West Berlin could produce only about a quarter of its food needs and even less of its energy requirements, they began on June 24, 1948, to block all rail, road and canal access from the west. The goal, of course, was to gain total control of the city because the Western powers, it was thought, would give up under such total blockage — or risk war. That was unlikely, given that the latter had only 22,600 troops in their Berlin section. The Soviets in their zone, on the other hand, numbered 1.5 million soldiers. Worse, at the start of the Soviet blockade, West Berliners had only 36 days of food supplies and 45 days of coal.
Gen. Lucius D. Clay, head of the U.S. Occupation Zone, set forth both the dilemma and solution: "There is no practicability in maintaining our position in Berlin, and it must not be evaluated on that basis. We are convinced that our remaining in Berlin is essential to our prestige in Germany and in Europe. Whether for good or bad, it has become a symbol of the American intent."
Hence began the largest military-diplomatic relief effort in history, as impressive as the D-Day invasion in terms of its boldness and tenacity. Operation Vittles, as the airlift was dubbed by Americans, was meticulous in terms of its planning, calculations and results. Some 1,990 calories for each of the 2.2 million West Berliners were set as the minimum daily requirement, necessitating 1,534 tons per day in food and 3,475 tons of coal and gasoline for fuel and electricity. Although Soviet fighters boasted that they would challenge the airlift, the threat was hollow. Some 400 Western-supplied cargo planes — flying stacked above each other in a 20-mile wide air corridor — arrived every three minutes at first two, then three airfields in West Berlin. On Saturday, April 16, 1949, a day before the end of Lent, a record 1,398 planes landed in what was called the Easter Parade, averaging one every 61.8 seconds.
The daily food supplies varied from 640 tons of flour to 109 tons of meat and fish, from 19 tons of powdered milk to five tons of whole milk for children, the latter dubbing the planes "candy bombers" because of their always dependable supply of sweets.
And not only were supplies brought in, but manufactured goods made by West Berliners filled returning planes. Some 175,000 ill West Berliners, including young children, were also airlifted out during the period as a result of a severe winter. The total statistical accomplishments were breathtaking: From June 24, 1948, to May 12, 1949, when the Soviets capitulated and opened up all routes to the city, more than 278,000 flights had taken off, and 1,592,787 tons of supplies had been airlifted, equal to about 1,000 pounds per West Berliner. To make certain that sufficient surpluses were built up for West Berliners, air deliveries continued until Sept. 30, 1949. To be sure, there were losses during the airlift period. Seventeen American and eight British aircraft had crashed, with 70 resulting deaths. The pilots represented not only traditional occupation-zone powers, but also Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans.
As for Americans at home, the era of the airlift was no picnic. A railroad strike, demobilization problems, short supplies, and high prices made for public unrest. Still, a national poll on Sept. 15, 1948, indicated that 85 percent backed the airlift policy, with only 7 percent opposed and 8 percent undecided.
Thomas V. DiBacco is professor emeritus at American University.
Thanks to Al  Giving you advanced notice so you can get ready
Monday Morning Humor--Cinco de Mayo
     On May 5th, 1862 in Puebla, Mexico, 4,000 Mexican soldiers triumphed over twice as many French fighters.  Mexicans celebrate that victorious battle as Cinco de Mayo.
     Today, Cinco de Mayo is a joyous holiday celebrated with food, fun, parades, and plenty of cerveza or tequila. Held during the first week of May; Cinco de Mayo springtime events include carnivals, street fairs, and multi-day festivals across the USA.
     In Mexico, the children play games on Cinco de Mayo as part of the fiesta to celebrate.  One game involved the filling of a piƱata or hanging paper bag full of "goodies".  Children were allowed into a circle of their friends and had a small stick to wave around in an attempt to puncture the bag and gain the reward of the "goodies".
     The best and most authentic Cinco de Mayo celebrations occur in locations with the highest concentration of Mexican people.  Similar to St. Patrick's Day for the Irish and Columbus Day in New York state, Cinco de Mayo is one of those special times when everyone feels a little bit Mexican in their soul.
Cinco de Mayo Trivia and Interesting Facts about Mexico
·        The Mexican community celebrates more than 365 festivals each year.  Cinco de Mayo is just one of them.
·        Although Cinco de Mayo is a big celebration in Puebla, where the battle was fought, Cinco de Mayo is much more popular in America.
·        The festival was 'invented' in America by a group of students back in 1967.  Each year since then Cinco de Mayo gets bigger thanks to people of Mexican descent - and those who just like a good margarita!
·        Did you know Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
·        Around 28.3 million of USA residents were of Mexican origin in 2006. These residents constituted 9% of the nation's total population, and 64% of the Hispanic population.
·        Approximately 630,000 of Mexican-Americans are USA military veterans.
·        The Maya in Central Mexico were the first people known to harvest and use the peanut.
·        Pineapple and papayas grew wild in Mexico, and were introduced to the rest of the world by Spanish explorers.
·        Around the 1860s, three American travelers began exporting resin from the Zapote Blanco tree in Mexico after they noticed that it hardened when exposed to air. The men found a way to turn it into a waxy substance, added flavors and sweeteners, and sold it in small balls for a penny apiece, calling it Adam's Chewing Gum from New York. Today, Americans chew seven times more gum than the rest of the world.
·        Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city, is where the Mexican Hat Dance, sombreros and mariachi music are believed to have originated.
·        The vanilla bean comes from an orchid plant discovered by Mexican Indians who used it to add flavor to their cocoa and corn drinks. The world's largest crop of vanilla beans still comes from Mexico.
Stupid Cinco de Mayo sayings:
·        Remember, Cinco de Mayo isn't just about drinking margaritas. It's also about tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.
·        It's funny how Cinco de Mayo always seems to fall on May 5.
·        As you all know, May 5 is the traditional Mexican holiday celebrated by filling up your sink with mayonnaise.
·        Cinco de Mayo: The greatest Mexican holiday that few Mexicans even know about.
·        Cinco de Mayo: As if I needed an excuse to get wasted on tequila.
·        Cinco de Mayo: The only holiday where we celebrate binge drinking and cultural stereotypes…er, besides Saint Patrick's Day.
·        "Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for 'the fifth of May' and not 'chug, chug, chug.' Anyway, salud!"
·        "I'm not above using obscure Mexican battles to justify my drinking."
·         "Is it really necessary to adopt another country's holiday just to have an excuse to drink tequila? You don't need one the other 364 days of the year."
·         "Cinco de Mayo makes me long for a world in which all holidays are conveniently named after the dates on which they fall."
What do you call a group of skunks drinking tequila?
Stinko de Mayo!
How many Mexicans does it take to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
Just Juan!
How do they serve beer on Cinco de Mayo?
In Mexi-cans!
Which Disney princess only comes out on Cinco de Mayo?
Taco Belle!
What do you call a cargo ship full of mayonnaise that goes down in the ocean?
Sinko de Mayo!
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Juan who?
Juan to go out for margaritas on Cinco de Mayo?
And finally, this standard…
     Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England.  In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.
     This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico.... But as we know....the great ship did not make it to New York....The ship hit an iceberg and sank .... and the cargo was forever lost....
     The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery .... were disconsolate at the loss....
     Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning which they still observe to this day.... The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th.... and is known....of Sinko de Mayo....
Have a great week and go easy on Cinco de Mayo,
Thanks to Burt …and Dr. Rich
This is fabulous, especially the imbedded audio interviews by Dick and Zach.
It covers much more than just "Making Astronauts", this is a mini Bio on the key players and a great history/description of just what is Mojave MASP as well as a good summary of all the Space players.
Do put a link to this in my website.
Making Astronauts in Mojave
        Kim Stringfellow
January 30, 2019
Thanks to Glenn
came across this today....Thud Pilots
F-105 documentary with pilots, ground crew and helo rescue pilots commentary.
on Amazon Prime.  not sure where else?
Thud Pilots
(185)IMDb7.790 min201818+Subtitles and Closed CaptionsX-Ray
This edge-of-your-seat documentary exposes the air war over North Vietnam where an elite band of brothers known as Thud Pilots fought and died receiving neither the country's support nor glory. Thud Pilots tells the untold story of the men who flew the F-105 THUD over the deadliest skies in the history of air warfare.
Thanks to Dr. Rich
Sixty years in 5 minutes .... memories!!
I suspect most on the list will remember a lot of this …. I do!
Click on the screenshot … or HERE for the 5 min. video
I only saw one that I did not remember 
Thanks to Dutch
Two versions of Classical Gas
and when you need a "quiet" moment - my most favorite of all - 
Some news from around the world
International—New ISIS Video Purports To Show Al-Baghdadi Cable News Network | 04/30/2019 The Islamic State has released a new video, which it says features reclusive leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, reports CNN.  On Monday, ISIS released the video through its al-Furqan media wing, according to the SITE intelligence group, which monitors online extremist activity. In the recording, a male speaker references the terror group's recent territorial losses in Syria, Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka and political developments in the Middle East and North Africa.  The speaker promises to continue a war of attrition against the enemy.  U.S. officials said they were aware of the video and were working to verify it.  An introductory script at the beginning of the video dated it to earlier in April, reported Reuters. The speaker appeared to be in good health and looked like a somewhat older version of Baghdadi compared to when he was last seen in public in 2014.  If authenticated, it would be the first known recording of the terror leader since July 2014, when he announced the creation of the terror group's self-proclaimed caliphate across Syria and Iraq.  He has instead opted to release audio statements. Previous reports suggested that Baghdadi might have been wounded during an airstrike in May 2017.  
USA—Top Pentagon Budget Strategist To Retire Foreign Policy | 04/30/2019 Robert Daigle, the director of the Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office is planning to step down next month, reports Foreign Policy.  A senior defense official confirmed the news on Monday. The Pentagon declined to confirm the development.  The CAPE office provides Defense Dept. leadership with budgetary assessments and advises on long-term planning. With the latest retirement, defense officials have expressed concern about the number of unfilled positions in the Pentagon's upper ranks. In addition to the CAPE director, the department currently lacks a permanent secretary, deputy secretary, two out of seven undersecretaries and nearly half its assistant secretaries. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has also indicated that she will step down in May.  
USA—Trump Announces U.S. Withdrawal From U.N. Arms Trade Treaty British Broadcasting Corp. | 04/30/2019 President Donald Trump has announced his intent to withdraw from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the international sale of weapons, reports BBC News. The administration will soon submit a formal notice to the U.N. advising of Washington's withdrawal from the accord, Trump told lobbyists at a National Rifle Association (NRA) meeting in Indianapolis on April 26. The treaty "fails to truly address the problem of irresponsible arms transfers" since other major international arms exporters, including Russia and China, are not among the signatories, said a White House statement. The ATT was signed by 130 nations in 2013 and has been ratified by 101 to date. The U.S. is among the 29 nations who have not yet ratified the accord. The treaty requires countries to monitor their arms exports to ensure weapons sales do not violate existing arms embargoes and that exported weapons are not being used for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or terrorist acts. The NRA has long opposed the ATT, arguing that it amounts to international gun control and threatens America's second amendment right to bear arms.   
USA—Navy Christens Guam High-Speed Transport Vessel In Japan Military Sealift Command | 04/30/2019 The U.S. Navy has christened its newest high-speed transport vessel, reports the Military Sealift Command. The Guam (T-HST-1) was christened on Saturday during a ceremony in Okinawa, Japan. The ship is the fourth to be named after the U.S. territory. The Guam is a 373-ft (114-m) aluminum-hull catamaran designed to be flexible and maneuverable in shallow water, making it ideal for troop and equipment transport. The ship can also be reconfigured to support disaster-relief missions. The transport, initially named the Huakai, was built by Austal USA in 2008 for the now defunct Hawaii Superferry Corp., noted the Stars and Stripes.  The Guam was refurbished and became operational in late 2017 when it replaced the Westpac Express as a III Marine Expeditionary Force asset. The Navy bought the Huakai, along with her sister ship Alakai, from the Dept. of Transportation for $25 million in 2012. The Alakai was renamed the Puerto Rico.   
Japan—Pentagon Denies That Missing F-35A Found Nikkei Asian Review | 04/30/2019 The Pentagon is has denied reports that a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter that went down earlier this month of the northeastern coast of Japan has been found, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.  Gen. Charles Brown, the commander of Pacific Air Forces, told reporters on Monday that the jet had been located and recovery efforts were underway.  Later on Monday, Col. John Hutcheson, the director of public affairs at U.S. Forces Japan, told the paper that the aircraft had not been found and search efforts were continuing.  An Air Force spokesman declined to confirm the development but told Military Periscope that the U.S. continues its efforts to support the Japan Self-Defense Forces to locate the jet's wreckage.  The Japanese-built fighter went down on April 9 during a training mission. Pieces of the jet's tail were found shortly after the crash but further efforts have not succeeded in locating the body or pilot.     
South Korea—Committee Approves Acquisition Of New Destroyers, Submarines Yonhap | 04/30/2019 The South Korean government has approved the construction of additional destroyers and submarines, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).  On Tuesday, the Defense Project Promotion Committee approved the measure to build three Kwanggaeto the Great III-class destroyers and three Jang Bogo III-class submarines, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said. The Aegis-equipped destroyers would be equipped with an upgraded launch system to improve their missile defense capabilities and would have enhanced detection and tracking systems.  The committee approved the acquisition at a cost of about US$3.3 billion, with deliveries scheduled to be completed by 2028.  Part of the Korean Attack Submarine program, the Jang Bogo III submarines will displace 3,450 tons and be armed with indigenous ballistic missile launchers. The boats are to be completed by 2028, said DAPA.     
Cambodia—Prime Minister Says China Will Step Up If E.U. Withdraws From Trade Pact Bloomberg News | 04/30/2019 China has promised to help Cambodia if the European Union withdraws a preferential trade deal, reports Bloomberg News.  Following a five-day trip to Beijing, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that China had promised to help in the case of any trade disruptions with the E.U. Hun Sen also announced a US$89 million military package and an initial contract with Chinese telecom firm Huawei to develop a 5G network.  In February, the E.U. began the process of revoking Cambodia's participation in the "everything but arms initiative," which allows tariff-free trade in non-weapons products. The decision was spurred by sham elections in July 2018 that extended Hun Sen's 33-year rule, as well as labor- and human-rights violations.  Such a move could hurt the garment sector, which employs 750,000 of Cambodia's 15.75 million people and generates US$5 billion annually.  China has invested US$12.6 billion since 1994 to bolster the Cambodian economy, noted the news service.      
Burma—Council Extends Ban On Weapons Sales To Burma Council Of The European Union | 04/30/2019 The Council of the European Union has extended sanctions on Burma (Myanmar) for another year.  The current embargo on weapons, dual-use goods, communication monitoring equipment and prohibitions on military training and cooperation will remain in place until April 30, 2020, the council said in a statement following the vote Monday.  The E.U. Council consists of national ministers from the member states.  The measure also extended "restrictive measures" on 14 Burmese individuals for their links to human-rights violations against members of the Rohingya, Rakhine and Shan minorities. In August 2017, about 740,000 Rohingya, a mostly Muslim group, fled into Bangladesh following a military offensive in the western Rakhine state.  Burmese officials have been accused of planning a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing, torture and rape in the region.                                       
India—Construction Begins For New Russian-Built Frigates Rosoboronexport | 04/30/2019 Russia has begun construction the first two of four Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates for the Indian navy, reports Rosoboronexport, Russia's arms export agency. Work on the frigates was underway at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, said an agency release on April 26. In November 2018, India signed a US$950 million contract with Russia for four Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates, noted Russia's Tass news agency. Under the deal, two frigates are being built in Russia, with the balance to be constructed at India's state-owned Goa Shipyard. Delivery of the Russian-made vessels is scheduled for 2022 and 2023, respectively.  The Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates are 410 feet (125 m) long, displace 3,990 tons and can reach a top speed of 30 knots with a range of 4,850 miles (7,800 km). The frigate is equipped with the 100-mm A-190 gun, the Shtil-1 air defense system, Kalibr anti-ship missile system and can carry a Ka-27 maritime helicopter.     
Afghanistan—Loya Jirga To Lay Groundwork For Peace With Taliban Underway TOLONews | 04/30/2019 Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has launched a grand assembly (loya jirga) to discuss peace efforts with the Taliban, reports the Tolo News (Afghanistan).  The council began on Monday in Kabul and brings together about 3,200 political and community leaders.  The four-day talks are intended to establish a framework for peace talks with the Taliban.  Ghani named former militant leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf to chair the assembly. The Taliban has pre-emptively rejected any decisions made at the Loya Jirga, calling them unacceptable "to the real and devout sons of this homeland."  Several prominent political leaders have boycotted the meeting, including chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, former President Hamid Karzai and former national security adviser Hanif Atmar, reported the Wall Street Journal. Atmar criticized the process, citing a lack of consultation and transparency about the goal of the jirga.  The meeting comes as Washington seeks to negotiate an exit from Afghanistan. The Taliban has so far refused to meet with the Afghan government.      
Israel—Planned Hamas Attack During Elections Foiled, Says Shin Bet Jerusalem Post | 04/30/2019 Israel's Shin Bet internal security service has revealed that it foiled an attack by Hamas that was planned to take place during national elections on April 9, reports the Jerusalem Post. Shin Bet, in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces, uncovered a terror cell in the West Bank that had been recruited by senior Hamas operatives to conduct a car bombing near Ma'aleh Adumim in the West Bank outside of Jerusalem, the agency said on Sunday. The suspect, 23-year-old Yahya Abu Dia, was arrested on March 31. The military censored news of the apprehension at the time, noted the Times of Israel. The ban was removed ahead of his planned indictment later this week. During interrogation, Abu Dia revealed that he was in contact with Hamas and had agreed to act as a suicide bomber. He was instructed to buy a car, rent a storage room to build the bomb and survey public sites in Ma'aleh Adumim, where there was a high concentration of buses, civilians and soldiers, the statement said. The attack was intended to coincide with the elections, but Shin Bet did not indicate exactly when it was planned to take place.      
Turkey—Military Targets PKK Positions In N. Iraq Anadolu News Agency | 04/30/2019 The Turkish air force has attacked Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) positions in northern Iraq, reports the Anadolu Agency (Turkey). The airstrikes on Sunday targeted and destroyed several weapon emplacements, shelters and ammunition depots in the Haftanin region, said the Turkish Ministry of Defense. An airstrike also killed at least 14 militants who were hiding in a cave in the Zap region, the ministry said on Monday. Turkey considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization. A total of 154 PKK militants have been killed in military operations in Turkey and northern Iraq since April 4, said a military official.   
Lebanon—With British Help, Army Regains Control Of Border With Syria Asharq Al-Awsat | 04/30/2019 Lebanon has regained control of its eastern border with Syria with significant help from the U.K., reports Asharq Al-Awsat (London). The army, in coordination with British forces, has installed 39 observation towers and 37 operational bases along the border with Syria, British sources told the newspaper. The entire border is now under the permanent control of the Lebanese army. Security forces are now working to close the border to smuggling from Syria. In 2012, the U.K. launched an assistance program to train, equip and direct Lebanese land border regiments. Ground forces of the Lebanese army began operating in 2013, tasked with monitoring, deterring and repelling cross-border attacks. The U.K. has helped to train around 11,000 Lebanese troops on military operations in populated areas and 7,000 on border operations, said diplomatic sources.  London has spent more than 60 million pounds (US$77 million) on training and equipping the border troops and building the observation towers and operational bases, the sources said.  
Burkina Faso—5 Killed In Attack On Church In North Agence France-Presse | 04/30/2019 At least five people have been killed in an attack on a church in the northern Soum province of Burkina Faso, reports Agence France-Presse.  Gunmen on a motorcycle attacked a church in the Silgadji commune on Sunday, killing the priest and four congregants, a government spokesman said. Two others were reported missing.  The attack was the first to target a church since militant violence erupted in the country.  About 350 people have been killed in Burkina Faso since 2015, with most attacks attributed to Islamist militants affiliated with Al-Qaida. Violence led the government to declare a state of emergency in December.    
Nigeria—British Assist With Training Of Air Force Personnel | 04/30/2019 British troops in Nigeria has been assisting with the training of air force regiment and special operations personnel, reports the news website (Nigeria). The British Military Assistant Training Team provided training for the air force and more than 2,000 special operations forces to enhance the service's force protection capabilities, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakhar, the chief of air staff, announced in Abuja on Saturday. The training is part of the air force's efforts to develop and improve its capabilities against growing threats in the country's restive areas, including Benue, Taraba and Zamfara state, Abubakhar said.  The air force has improved its ability to effectively respond to internal security challenges as well as defend Nigeria's territorial integrity, said Air Force Director Peter Ashibe.     
Colombia—Defense Ministry Issues US$1 Million Bounty For Ex-FARC Leader Colombia Reports | 04/30/2019 The Colombian Defense Ministry is offering US$1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of a former leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), reports Colombia Reports. The Special Court for Peace (JEP) sanctioned and revoked the parole of Hernan Dariro Velazquez Saldarriago, also known as El Paisa, on April 26 after he failed to appear before the court for the third time, reported Radio France Internationale. The JEP also notified Interpol of its ruling, reported Agence-France Presse. Saldarriago went into hiding in the southern jungles of Colombia in June 2018 following the arrest of FARC leader Jesus Santrich on an unsubstantiated U.S. drug-trafficking charge.  He was granted parole by the JEP, which was created to hand out alternative sentences to rebels if they confessed to their crimes, compensated victims and pledged not to use violence in the future.  The FARC leader is being investigated along with 30 others for the mass kidnapping of civilians during the conflict. Saldarriago and FARC political leader Ivan Marquez previously indicated that they would cooperate with the JEP once they were sure that they would not be extradited to the U.S. El Paisa is also part of a group of former mid-level FARC commanders who say that the government has consistently failed to comply with the peace deal in the areas of reintegration, judicial security and personal safety. Some also believe that the U.S. is trying to sabotage the peace process in order to seek their extradition. Saldarriago is the first former rebel to be sanctioned by the JEP.  

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