Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The List 5218


The List 5218 TGB

To All,

I hope that you all had a great weekend.

Regards,

Skip


1942 - The first Construction Battalion (Seabees) arrives in the Pacific during World War II at Bora Bora, Society Islands.

On This Day in Naval History

1864

While at anchor off Charleston, S.C., the Steam Sloop of War USS Housatonic is attacked by the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley using a spar torpedo. USS Housatonic is recorded as the first warship to be sunk by a submarine.

1942

The first Construction Battalion (Seabees) arrives in the Pacific during World War II at Bora Bora, Society Islands.

1944

USS Nicholas (DD 449) sinks the Japanese submarine I-11 in the Marshall Islands.

1944

During Operation Hailstone, aircraft from the nine aircraft carriers of Task Force 58 attack the Japanese fleet at Truk. During the 2-day strike, 33 Japanese vessels are destroyed and nine more damaged.

1945

While wounded and gravely weakened, Medal of Honor Recipient Lt Rufus G. Herring takes the helm of the Landing Craft Infantry Gunboat (LCI(G)-449), which was heavily hit by Japanese counter-fire, rallies his men, and keeps the ship in action protecting UDT swimmers.


CHINFO

Government has the day off

February 17


1454


At a grand feast, Philip the Good of Burgundy takes the "vow of the pheasant," by which he swears to fight the Turks.


1598


Boris Godunov, the boyar of Tarar origin, is elected czar in succession to his brother-in-law Fydor.


1720


Spain signs the Treaty of the Hague with the Quadruple Alliance ending a war that was begun in 1718.


1801


The House of Representatives breaks an electoral college tie and chooses Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr.


1864


The Confederate submarine Hunley sinks the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.


1865


The South Carolina capital city, Columbia, is destroyed by fire as Major General William Tecumseh Sherman marches through.


1909


Apache chief Geronimo dies of pneumonia at age 80, while still in captivity at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.


1919


Germany signs an armistice giving up territory in Poland.


1925


The first issue of Harold Ross' magazine, The New Yorker, hits the stands, selling for 15 cents a copy.


1933


The League of Nations censures Japan in a worldwide broadcast.


1935


Thirty-one prisoners escape an Oklahoma prison after murdering a guard.


1938


The first color television is demonstrated at the Dominion Theatre in London.


1944


U.S forces land on Eniwetok atoll in the South Pacific.


1945


Gen. MacArthur's troops land on Corregidor in the Philippines.


1951


Packard introduces its "250" Chassis Convertible.


1955


Britain announces its ability to make hydrogen bombs.


1959


The United States launches its first weather station in space, Vanguard II.


1960


Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested in the Alabama bus boycott.


1963


Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visits the Berlin Wall.


1969


Russia and Peru sign their first trade accord.


1973


President Richard Nixon names Patrick Gray director of the FBI.


1975


Art by Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and van Gogh, valued at $5 million, is stolen from the Municipal Museum in Milan.


1979


China begins a "pedagogical" war against Vietnam. It will last until March.


1985


Murray Haydon becomes the third person to receive an artificial heart.




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This Day in Aviation History” brought to you by the Daedalians Airpower Blog Update. To subscribe to this weekly email, go to https://daedalians.org/airpower-blog/



Feb. 16, 1914

Lieutenants Joseph E. Carberry, Daedalian Founder Member #1567, and Walter R. Taliaferro, Founder Member #2627, set a new Army altitude record of 8,700 feet in a Curtiss aircraft over San Diego.

Feb. 17, 1913

An autopilot device – a gyrostabilizer – invented by Elmer Sperry is tested for the first time on a U.S. Army aircraft.

Feb. 18, 1832

Octave Chanute, first great historian of aviation, was born in Paris, France, on Feb. 18, 1832. Brought to the United States when young, Chanute was a civilian engineer before turning to aviation. In 1894 he published Progress in Flying Machines, which became a bible for the Wright brothers.

Feb. 19, 1936

Brig. Gen. William L. “Billy” Mitchell, regarded as “the father of the U.S. Air Force,” died at the age of 56 at Doctor’s Hospital, New York City. He is later buried in Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mitchell, Daedalian Founder Member #12595, advocated for an increased investment in air power, believing it was crucial in wartime. His fervor antagonized many military leaders, and he was court-martialed for insubordination after accusing top brass of an “almost treasonable administration of the national defense” for investing in battleships instead of aircraft carriers.

Feb. 20, 1914

The beginnings of aviation medicine were apparent in a letter written on this date from the Office of Aeronautics to the commanding officer of the aeronautic station at Pensacola, Florida, on the subject of physical requirements for aviator candidates, which expressed the opinion that useful information was to be obtained by observing pilots during flight and by physical examination before and after flight. The letter further directed that a program should be developed that would permit incorporation of such practice in the work of the flight training school.

Feb. 21, 2001

An RQ-1 Predator fired a Hellfire missile at a tank at Nellis AFB, Nevada. In this test it confirmed its capability as an unmanned aerial vehicle to destroy a ground target.

Feb. 22, 1920

Lt. William D. Coney, Daedalian Founder Member #2155, made the first solo transcontinental flight by flying his DH-4B from San Diego, California, to Jacksonville, Florida, in 22 hours, 27 minutes. This was also one of the earliest mail service flights.



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Thanks to the Bear and we hope that he gets better soon…..A great little Gem on the Sabre

The North American Bitch—the Super Sabre

from the Vietnam War archives at Texas Tech... good storytelling...

while I’m laid up, I’m surfing through about 2,500 documents a day... sort of like panning for gold... fill the pan, swish it around, and keep on digging, filling and swishing until—-eureka—a little bit of gold comes poking up through the last bit of Mother Earth’s dirt in your pan... The mother load at TT includes 40,000 documents of interest.... this bit of gold is passed for your consideration... Bear🇺🇸⚓️🐻

ng
https://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/reports/images.php?img=/images/1355/13550213011.pdf



For those of you that have seen it remember the Sabre dance of a pilot who got on the back side of the power curve and it did not end well but it was spectacular. A man that I respected very much happened to be one of the Air Force test pilots of the Super Sabre and told me why there were so many cameras that filmed it as they were doing some testing on that runway. He had a large picture of him flying that bird that hung in his house, He also hung a smaller one of his son flying an F-15 and Me flying an F-14. He was the Base Commander of Vandenberg AFB when I met him.



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H.R. 5858 - Military Pilots Cancer Incidence Study Act

Thanks to Boot – Dutch and Wigs

If this gets going I will send the info from the over 40 email we gathered from all of you on the Subject to the committee.

To All,
On 12 Feb 2020, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-VA) introduced H.R. 5858, the Military Pilot Cancer Incidence Study Act. Kinzinger is an ANG pilot and Luria’s district includes Oceana, Norfolk and Langley. This bipartisan bill will “…require the Secretary of Defense to seek to enter into an agreement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to study and report on the incidence of cancer diagnosis and mortality among pilots in the uniformed services.”

H.R. 5858 - Military Pilots Cancer Incidence Study Act - https://www.congress.gov/bi…/116th-congress/house-bill/5858…

According to the press releases, H.R. 5858 will address the correlation only between cockpit exposures to ionized (high altitude flight) and non-ionized (radars) radiation. While this is a start in the right direction there are potentially many more causes to the increased cancer rates in military aviation – exposures to toxic materials (jet fuels and exhaust, hydraulic fluids, coolants, cleaners, etc), oxygen systems (liquid oxygen, the On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS)), or other as yet unidentified sources.

I’m working with several others to have H.R.5858 include all those involved in military aviation. This would include all pilots, weapons systems officers, aircrew, maintenance personnel, and flight deck and flight line personnel, from the Vietnam era forward.



Mike “Bing” Crosby, a former F-14 RIO and CEO of a non-profit, Veterans for Prostate Cancer Awareness (VPCa) recently did an interview with WTKR in Norfolk – here is a link to his interview:



https://www.wtkr.com/news/rep-luria-calls-for-study-to-examine-cancer-rates-among-fighter-pilots



I don’t know if the articles from “Stricken” by Tara Copp from McClatchy News, Mike’s efforts with VPCa, from a group called Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association (RRVA), or Betty Seaman’s efforts with the stand-up of a cancer family survivors group Veterans Families for Exposure Awareness (VFEA) - if you want to contact Betty for more information on this group, her email is seamanb@aol.com moved this needle, but I’m excited it’s moved.



Please feel free to pass this info along to anyone you think might be interested, or to contact your Members of Congress to ask for them to support this piece of legislation. As soon as we receive the proposed wording of H.R. 5858 I will forward it.



Best,

Tom “Boot” Hill

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”. Albert Einstein

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Thanks to Smoke

I would like to push another really good charity: Inner North Star. They provide free counseling and retreats and services for veterans and first responders with PTSD. It's located in Julian, CA. innernorthstar.com.
Smoke



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Thanks to Hal -

Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

With the link below, you will be able pull up every airplane that was built in every country in the world and every aircraft company. Want to check out almost any airplane ever built in the world? Old, new, military, civilian?

Browse this site for a few minutes. You will be amazed at what has been done in airplane design. The amount of info available is unbelievable.



Virtual Airplane Museum

http://www.aviastar.org/index2.html




Virtual Aircraft Museum - aviastar.org

www.aviastar.org

WWW: www.aviastar.org: E-mail Click here.




http://www.aviastar.org/index2.html



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Thanks to Dr. Rich….what is the world coming to

Thanks to Harry …. a former RCAF Fighter Pilot … Sabre’s

Troops…



This an unimaginable slide backwards for the position of fighter pilot. What is the military thinking?

Harry


Air Force to allow average looking, uncool people to become fighter pilots

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — Due to manning cuts and years of major airliners paying higher wages for sweet abs, the U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command may begin allowing normal-looking people become fighter pilots as early as 2020, sources report.

Sources say that Air Force Chief Gen. David L. Goldfein addressed a crowd of shirtless pilots at a post volleyball match early last week, informing them that due to manning cuts in previous years, some pilots were forced to finish early and leave many units flaccid.

“Air Force Policy requires that each flying squadron maintain enough pilots to publish four consecutive 12-month calendars without seeing the same half-naked pilot more than once,” Goldfein said to the glistening aviators. “We may be forced to recruit back some talent, which we know will be difficult due to their hectic modeling schedules.”

Col. Arnold Heinz, chief of plans and programming, echoed Goldfein’s comments.

“Sure they’re are plenty of applicants,” said Heinz, in front of a stack of applicant folders. “Like this guy from MIT with 3,000 hours at a regional airline. But with those pecs its hard to see if he has the aptitude to fly combat missions.”

Meanwhile, advocates for uncool people argue that average-looking people should definitely be allowed to fly.

“As long as they oil up beforehand and don’t skip leg day, they shouldn’t have any issues becoming proud and successful aviators,” said Larry Knight, a critic of the Air Force’s exclusion of uncool people like him, a policy that forced him to become a loser Army helicopter pilot instead.



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Thanks to Al

Monday Morning Humor--Presidents' Day

Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

There has been a recent discovery among archives shedding new information regarding George Washington’s famous line “I cannot tell a lie – I chopped down the Cherry Tree” It seems that someone was hiding nearby during the following discussion and copied this on parchment.

“George, son, did you chop down the cherry tree?”

“No, Dad.”

“Son, because I trust you and have given you the privilege of running the plantation while I’m gone as a symbol of that trust, I’m going to believe you.”



Seven months later…

“George, your brother was talking to one of our slaves, and the slave told him he saw you chop down that cherry tree last winter. Did you?”

“No, Dad.”

“I think you are lying.”

“No, no, no! I swear I did NOT chop down the cherry tree.”

“Son, he saw you out here with your axe. Your punishment will be much worse for you if you lie. Now, tell me the truth!”

“Dad, I answered your question truthfully. Still, I must take complete responsibility for all my actions. While my answer was legally accurate, I did not volunteer information. Indeed, Dad, I did cause the cherry tree to be lying on the ground. To do this was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible. I know my answer to you gave a false impression. I misled you, my own father. I deeply regret that. I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors.

“What I did, Dad, was use a saw to cause the cherry tree to fall. Only after the tree was already down did I go get my axe to chop off individual branches. So, I chopped off branches, but sawed down the tree. Look at the saw cut on the stump and the axe cuts on the branches. Therefore, legally, I told the truth. I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of this fallen tree and to return our attention to a solid family relationship. After all, who’s going to remember a cherry tree as a symbol of my character and ability to lead?”

When Will Rogers was being taken to the White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge, Vice President Dawes cautioned him not to try to be funny because the President had no sense of humor whatsoever.

Undaunted, Rogers bet Dawes that he could have Coolidge laughing within 20 seconds.

When the formal introduction was made, Dawes began by saying, "Mr. President, may I introduce my friend, Mr. Will Rogers."

Rogers held out his hand with a questioning look and said, "Pardon me, I didn't quite get the name."

Coolidge roared with laughter, and Rogers won the wager.

"You should be ashamed," the father told his son, Andy, "When Abraham Lincoln was your age, he used to walk ten miles every day to get to school."

"Really?" Andy responded. "Well, when he was your age, he was president."

A man was sitting at the bar during a dress party when someone went up to him and said, "Hey, I thought you were supposed to dress up in something that symbolized your love life?"

The man said, "I am."

The other guy said, "You look like Abe Lincoln."

The man said, "That's true my last four scores were seven years ago."



We were eating lunch yesterday with our neighbors. The mother asked her seven-year-old daughter, "Do you know what day tomorrow is?"

She said "It's President's Day!"

She is a smart kid for a seven-year-old.

I asked, "Do you know what President's Day means?" I was waiting for something about Washington or Lincoln ... etc.

She replied, "President's Day is when President Obama steps out of the White House, and if he sees his shadow we have one more year of unemployment."

You know, it really hurts when hot coffee spurts out your nose...



Presidential quotes:

"I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting."--Ronald Reagan

''You know nothing for sure...except the fact that you know nothing for sure.''--John Kennedy

''If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?''--Abraham Lincoln

''Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There's nothing to do but to stand there and take it.''--Lyndon Johnson

''Being president is like running a cemetery: you've got a lot of people under you and nobody's listening.''--Bill Clinton

“Washington, DC is 12 square miles bordered by reality."--Andrew Johnson

"Things are more like they are now than they have ever been."--Gerald Ford

“An amazing invention - but who would ever want to use one?”--Rutherford B. Hayes sharing his thoughts about the telephone

“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”--James A. Garfield

“I know only two tunes: One of them is 'Yankee Doodle' and the other isn't.”--Ulysses S. Grant

“An atheist is a guy who watches a Notre Dame-SMU football game and doesn't care who wins.”--Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose.”--Woodrow Wilson

“Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours.”--Grover Cleveland

“Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette—the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.”--John Tyler

“Blessed are the young, for they will inherit the national debt.”--Herbert Hoover

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”--Harry Truman

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USA—Another Warship Sails Through Taiwan Strait USNI News | 02/17/2020 A U.S. guided-missile cruiser has transited the Taiwan Strait, the second time such a ship has made the trip in the last month, reports USNI News. On Saturday, "USS Chancellorsville conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit ... in accordance with international law," a spokesman for the 7th Fleet said in a statement. The passage "demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," the spokesman said. On Jan. 16, USS Shiloh made a similar transit. The Chancellorsville also sailed through the strait in November. On Feb. 12, two U.S. Air Force surveillance aircraft flew over the waterway, following two consecutive days of Chinese military exercises near Taiwanese airspace, the South China Morning Post reported at the time. Beijing regards Taiwan as a wayward province and has never renounced the use of force to unify the self-ruled island with mainland China.



USA—Judge Halts Work On JEDI Cloud Computing Contract CNBC | 02/17/2020 A U.S. federal judge has ordered Microsoft and the Dept. of Defense to temporarily stop work on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing network project, reports CNBC. The injunction issued on Feb. 13 was triggered by a lawsuit filed by Amazon alleging that the award of the contract last October was biased against its cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to the company’s filings, President Trump allegedly influenced the DoD to award the contract to Microsoft due to his personal bias against Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The Pentagon criticized the halt work order, stating that the award was not biased and that the subsequent delay to the program would hurt national security, reported the Washington Post. The first elements of the network, an unclassified cloud environment, had been scheduled to go live on Feb. 14. The JEDI program could be worth up to $10 billion for services over 10 years.



USA—Senate Passes Iran War Powers Resolution Politico | 02/17/2020 The U.S. Senate has passed a war powers resolution intended to limit President Trump’s ability to engage in an armed conflict with Iran without congressional approval, reports Politico (Washington, D.C.). On Feb. 13, eight Republican senators joined all 47 Democratic senators to pass the legislation, which mandates that any hostilities with Iran cease within 30 days unless approved by Congress. The measure is expected to pass the House later this month but is likely to be vetoed by the president. It is unlikely that either the House or Senate could obtain the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto, noted the Los Angeles Times. The war powers resolution was a response to the killing of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, which was ordered by President Trump in January. The move is an effort to reassert Congress’ constitutional war powers authority, lawmakers said.



France—NATO Chief Dismisses Macron's Proposal For Nuclear Weapons Deployment Agence France-Presse | 02/17/2020 NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says that Europe does not need a strategic dialogue on nuclear weapons proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, reports Agence France-Presse. On Saturday, Stoltenberg told reporters during the Munich Security Conference that NATO had a "tried and tested" deterrent already in place Europe has a nuclear deterrent provided by the U.K. and U.S. and NATO's 29 members constantly train to maximize the alliance's deterrence, he said. Following the British withdrawal from the European Union, Macron has proposed an E.U.-wide dialogue on nuclear and strategic issues. France does not make its nuclear weapons available to NATO, but last week Macron called for talks among E.U. members about the role the French nuclear deterrent could play.



Germany—Police Target Suspected Far-Right Extremists In Raids Deutsche Welle | 02/17/2020 German police have arrested 12 individuals for being part of or supporting a suspected far-right terror organization, reports Deutsche Welle. The raids on Feb. 14 took place in 13 locations across six states, reported Agence France-Presse. Police discovered several weapons, including a “slam gun” similar to that used in an attack on a synagogue in the city of Halle in October. Those arrested allegedly set up a far-right organization in September 2019 to attack politicians, asylum seekers and Muslims, according to Germany’s Federal Prosecutors Office. The attacks were meant to spark a civil-war type situation. Four of the five founders of the group were arrested. The rest were suspected of supporting the network financially or by providing weapons. All were German and male, reported Deutsche Presse-Agentur. One of those arrested was a former police officer. The suspects were scheduled to appear before a court on Friday or Saturday to determine whether they would be imprisoned on remand. Germany has recently expanded its efforts to crack down on right-wing extremism. In December, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced the creation of 600 new positions with the federal police and domestic security services dedicated to tackling the threat.



Russia—Tactical Missiles Corp. Focused on Small Munitions For Drones Tass | 02/17/2020 Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corp. is developing small munitions for use on uncrewed aerial vehicles, reports Russia’s Tass news agency. On Feb. 14, Boris Obnosov, the head of the firm, revealed that several air-launched munitions in the 110-pound (50-kg) to 220-pound (100-kg) class were under development. Work on the small munitions is being conducted in partnership with the Kronshtadt hi-tech firm, he said. Kronshtadt has developed the Orion-E drone, which can carry up to four 110-pound or two 220-pound munitions.



China—Major Political Gatherings Postponed Amid Coronavirus Outbreak Xinhua | 02/17/2020 The Chinese Communist Party has postponed its largest political gatherings due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency . On Monday, a spokesman for the National People’s Congress (NPC) Legislative Affairs Commission said that the NPC meeting in March would be delayed to allow government officials to concentrate on battling the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. One-third of the body's members are local government officials whose presence is needed to fight the virus, he said. The meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC) are also expected to be delayed. A Chinese source said that leaders feel the threat is too high to go forward with the meetings at the current time. The NPC was scheduled to meet on March 5. The CPPCC, an advisory body, meets at the same time. The death toll from the virus, known as COVID 19, has reached 1,770 in China. At least 70,000 cases have been confirmed. Beijing has imposed travel restrictions on an estimated 60 million people in an effort to halt the virus after the government was accused of playing down the threat.



Malaysia—CN-235 Aircraft To Be Modified For Maritime Patrol Missions With U.S. Funding Defense News | 02/17/2020 Malaysia plans to use funding provided by the U.S. Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) to upgrade several cargo aircraft to a maritime patrol configuration, reports Defense News. The MSI fund was set up in 2015 with US$425 million to support Asian-Pacific nations in improving maritime domain awareness capabilities. Three CN-235 transport aircraft will be upgraded by the original manufacturer, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), said Gen. Affendi Buang, head of the Malaysian armed forces. The converted Malaysian aircraft are expected to have a similar configuration to CN-235s used for maritime patrol by the Indonesian air force and navy. Those aircraft are equipped with a Merlin maritime surveillance mission suite, maritime surveillance radar, electro-optical turret and electronic support measures. The aircraft will be upgraded under an option in a previous US$30 million sustainment and overhaul contract between Malaysia and PTDI. The total cost of the upgrade was not revealed.



Pakistan—Yarmook OPV Commissioned At Romanian Shipyard Damen Shipyards Group | 02/17/2020 The Pakistani navy has commissioned a new offshore patrol vessel built by Dutch shipbuilder Damen at its shipyard in Galati, Romania. On Feb. 13, the Yarmook (F-271) formally entered Pakistani navy service during a ceremony in Constanta on Romania’s Black Sea coast, Damen said in a Friday release. The Yarmook is the first of two OPVs ordered by the Pakistani navy in June 2017. The second vessel, the Tabuk, is scheduled for delivery in May. The ships are capable of launching two rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) up to 37 feet 9 inches (11.5 m) long simultaneously and can accommodate two 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers to support special operations forces



Afghanistan—Taliban Confirms Peace Deal With U.S. Washington Post | 02/17/2020 The Taliban says that it has finalized a peace agreement with the U.S., reports the Washington Post. Both sides have agreed to a final draft of the deal and talks have concluded, a Taliban spokesman said on Monday. The parties will sign the accord later this month after a "favorable environment" is reached in the country, he said. Last week, U.S and Afghan government officials called for a seven-day truce to precede any final agreement. If the reduction in violence is maintained, the parties will enter into an agreement that will reduce U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600, according to statements made by Defense Secretary Mark Esper last week. The 8,600 figure would still include counterterrorism and training operations, reported NPR News. Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah confirmed that both sides had concluded negotiations that included a week-long cease-fire, reported the Tolo News (Kabul). The Afghan government is not a party to the proposed deal. The Taliban spokesman referenced talks with Kabul but said a prisoner swap involving 5,000 Taliban fighters and 1,000 Afghan troops would precede any talks. Afghan officials previously said that such a swap would only be discussed during intra-Afghan talks. U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said that he had received security guarantees from the government and Taliban but that there remained the possibility of outside spoilers.



Yemen—Agreement Reached With Houthis On Long-Planned Prisoner Swap United Press International | 02/17/2020 The internationally-recognized Yemeni government and Houthi rebels have agreed to a major prisoner exchange, reports United Press International. On Sunday, the U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen announced the first "large-scale exchange of prisoners" since the war began in 2015. Both parties have begun preparing lists of prisoners to be swapped, said the U.N. envoy. The number of prisoners covered in the agreement was not disclosed. A Houthi official said in a tweet that the first phase could include at least 1,400 prisoners, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar). The announcement followed seven days of talks in Amman, Jordan. The talks were the third since December 2018, when the two sides reached an agreement to avoid full-scale fighting in the vital port city of Hodeidah. That accord envisioned a prisoner swap but implementation has been repeatedly delayed amid mutual accusations of cease-fire violations, in addition to other issues.



Israel—Tight Budgets Prevent V-22 Tiltrotor Buy, Says Air Force Jerusalem Post | 02/17/2020 Budgetary pressures have forced Israel to end plans to buy V-22 Osprey tiltrotors, reports the Jerusalem Post. The Israeli military says there is a requirement for 12 to 14 Ospreys, but there is not enough money to buy them. The armed forces have had an eye on the aircraft since 2012. In 2014, the U.S. approved a potential Foreign Military Sale of six V-22s to Israel for US$1.13 billion. That sale collapsed due to changes in the Israeli government and more urgent operational needs. The Israeli air force budget is already tight amid purchases of the F-35 Adir stealth fighter and an upcoming competition for new heavy-lift helicopters.



Syria—Regime Consolidates Grip On Aleppo Al Jazeera | 02/17/2020 The Syrian government has strengthened its control over the northwestern Aleppo province, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar). Backed by Russian air power, regime troops and allied militias gained control of a string of towns in the province's west and northwest, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported on Sunday. Most population centers in the province are now under government control. On Monday, the Syrian army said it would continue its campaign to eliminate militant groups "wherever they are found," reported Reuters. In January, Damascus launched a renewed operation to retake areas under rebel control. In response to steady advance by Syrian forces, Turkey and allied militias have launched an offensive in the neighboring Idlib province, reported Turkey's Anadolu Agency. On Sunday, about 100 Turkish military vehicles and Turkish troops arrived in Idlib to reinforce rebel-held areas and Turkish observation posts. There are about 6,500 Turkish troops in Syria, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (U.K.).



Burkina Faso—24 Killed In Latest Attack On Church Agence France-Presse | 02/17/2020 At least 24 people have been killed and 18 wounded in an attack on a church in northern Burkina Faso, reports Agence France-Presse. On Sunday, militants attacked a church in Pansi, Yagha province, not far from the border with Niger, said the regional governor. The attackers separated and assaulted locals, he said. The gunmen took the pastor with them when they fled, reported local media cited by Turkey's Anadolu Agency. Other reports indicated that the pastor had been killed in the assault. The militants stole oil and rice and forced three youths to help transport it on their motorbikes, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar). Residents of neighboring villages said that villagers from Pansi sought refuge in surrounding towns. A state of emergency scheduled to end on Jan. 12 was extended for a year amid continued violence in seven of Burkina Faso's 13 regions. About 700 Burkinabe have been killed and 270,000 have fled their homes due to violence in the last four years. Analysts have expressed concern that attacks against civilians are increasing "at an alarming rate."



Nigeria—Boko Haram Leader Sets Demands For Release Of Kidnapped Schoolgirls Daily Trust | 02/17/2020 Abubakar Shekau, the head of Boko Haram, has issued a set of demands for the Nigerian government to meet before the group releases the remaining schoolgirls it kidnapped in 2014, reports the Daily Trust (Lagos). In a video released on Feb. 13, Shekau demanded that the Nigerian government released members of Boko Haram currently in custody in order to secure the release of the remaining 100 of 276 girls seized from a school in Chibok in the northeastern Borno state still being held by the group, reported This Day (Lagos). Shekau also threatened Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, warning that he would be attacked if he returned to Borno. The video was released a day after Buhari visited Borno to express his condolences after militants killed 30 people on Sunday in an attack outside Maiduguri, the state capital.



South Sudan—Machar Rejects Compromise On Number Of States As Deadline Looms Anadolu News Agency | 02/17/2020 South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar has rejected an offer by President Salva Kiir to reduce the number of states as the deadline for a peace agreement approaches, reports Turkey's Anadolu Agency. On Sunday, Machar rejected Kiir's proposal of 10 states and three new administrative areas to break a deadlock in negotiations. While the reduction in the number of states from 32 to 10 has been a key opposition demand, Machar said that the addition of three new administrative areas violated the requirement. Kiir also fired all 32 state governors in an effort to end the dispute, reported BBC News. South Sudan had 10 states when it declared independence in 2011. The issue is contentious because it affects the districts for the country's top politicians, a South Sudanese professor told Al Jazeera (Qatar). The three administrative areas of Pibor, Ruweng and Abyei have all been the site of ethnic violence, noted Agence France-Presse. Oil-rich Ruweng is believed to be the most contentious, while Abyei is a border zone disputed by Sudan. Pibor in the east has long been the site of fighting over local grievances. A deadline to establish a joint government between the rivals has been set for Feb. 22.

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