Saturday, February 29, 2020

TheList 5227

The List 5227 TGB

To All,

I hope that you all have a great weekend.



This Day in Naval History

Feb. 28

1844—An experimental 12-inch gun explodes on board USS Princeton, killing Secretary of State (former Secretary of the Navy) Abel P. Upshur, Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Gilmer, and five other dignitaries and injuring 20 people.

1893—The first true U.S. Navy battleship, USS Indiana (BB 1), launches.

1942—USS Jacob Jones (DE 130) is sunk by German submarine U 578 off the Delaware capes.

1942— USS Houston (CA 30) engages the Japanese in the Battle of Sunda Strait and is sunk the next day.

1944—USS Balao (SS 285) and USS Sand Lance (SS 381) sink Japanese army cargo ship Akiura Maru, transport Shoho Maru about 90 miles northwest of Manokawari, New Guinea and transport Kaiko Maru just east of Musashi Wan, off Paramushir, Kurils.

1959—USS Strong (DD 758) rescues 13 Arab fishermen from Bahrain when their fishing boats flounders in a storm.

1987 - Guided Missile Frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) is commissioned.

We do have a 29 February tomorrow here is what happened

This day in Naval History February 29

1944 - PB4Y-1s from squadrons VB-108, VB-109, and VD-3, conduct a low-level bombing raid on Japanese positions on Wake Island.

1968 - Four North Vietnamese trawlers attempting to simultaneously infiltrate supplies into South Vietnam were detected. Three of the trawlers were sunk in battle on the following day and one survived by turning back.

This day in Naval History March 1

1865—Side-wheel steamship Harvest Moon, while underway near Georgetown, SC, with Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren on board, hits a Confederate mine (or "torpedo" in contemporary terms) and sinks with the loss of one of her crew.

1942—Naval Reserve pilot Ensign William Tepuni, flying a Lockheed Hudson reconnaissance, light bombing and transport aircraft (PBO) from VP-82 Squadron based at Naval Air Station Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, attacks and sinks German submarine U 656 southwest of Newfoundland—the first U-boat sunk by U.S. forces in World War II.

1944—USS Bronstein (DE 189) sinks German submarine U 603 in the North Atlantic and then teams with USS Thomas (DE 102) and USS Bostwick (DE 103) to sink German submarine U 709.

1953—During the Korean War, USS Valley Forge (CVA 45) aircraft raid the No.1 power plant at Chosen, Korea, and heavily damage the strongly defended industrial site.

1991—Following USS Missouri's (BB 63) bombardment of Faylaka Island during Operation Desert Storm, hundreds of Iraqi soldiers wave white flags and surrender to the battleship's Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) flying overhead.

2014—USS Somerset (LPD 25) is commissioned in Philadelphia, PA. The ninth of the 12-ship San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock warships, Somerset is named to honor the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who attacked the 9/11 terrorists after they hijacked the plane, sending it crashing into the ground at Somerset County, PA, rather than their target in Washington, D.C.


Thanks to CHINFO

On This Day In The Navy:

1973 - First airborne mine sweep in a live minefield takes place in the Haiphong, Vietnam ship channel by helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Twelve on board USS New Orleans (LPH 11).

Note a good friend mine Arne was in that squadron and later did the Suez canal

Executive Summary:

• Multiple outlets covered Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday and Commandant of the Marine Corps General David Berger testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, yesterday

• Multiple outlets reported that a Chinese destroyer lased a U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft flying in international air space west of Guam.

• Multiple outlets continued coverage of global responses to the Coronavirus.

On this day in history February 28,

1953: In a Cambridge University laboratory, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.

1973: Bamboo Harvester, better known as "Mister Ed" the talking horse, dies at the age of 33. A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a deceased horse!

And today is:

National Chocolate Souffle Day

1953 Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

February 28


Westminster Abbey, the most famous church in England, opens its doors.


On the orders of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, two Englishmen and an Irishman are burnt for heresy.


Thomas West is appointed governor of Virginia.


Indians attack Deerfield, Mass. killing 40 and kidnapping 100.


Colonel Alexander Doniphan and his ragtag Missouri Mounted Volunteers ride to victory at the Battle of Sacramento, during the Mexican War.


The territory of Colorado is established.


After a 119-day siege by the Boers, the surrounded British troops in Ladysmith, South Africa, are relieved.


Four Union gunboats destroy the CSS Nashville near Fort McAllister, Georgia.


Haiti becomes the first U.S. protectorate.


U.S. troops are sent to Honduras to protect American interests during an election conflict.


The Japanese Army restores order in Tokyo and arrests officers involved in a coup.


U.S. tanks break the natural defense line west of the Rhine and cross the Erft River.


The U.S. Army declares that it will use V-2 rocket to test radar as an atomic rocket defense system.


Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia sign a 5-year defense pact in Ankara.


In Mississippi, 19 are indicted in the slayings of three civil rights workers.


A Los Angeles court refuses Robert Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan's request to be executed.


The male electorate in Lichtenstein refuses to give voting rights to women.


U.S. warplanes shoot down four Serb aircraft over Bosnia in the first NATO use of force in the troubled area.


In 1961 my college roommate had a term paper due the next day and it had to be typed. I had my trusty Sears portable and volunteered to type it for him since he was not feeling well and had other deadlines. That is when I learned all there was to know about DNA including how to spell and type deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA. It still resides in some small bit of my brain matter and will not go away so I can put something in there that I can really use.



Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

Though DNA–short for deoxyribonucleic acid–was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn't demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game. On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix. In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that "we had found the secret of life." The truth wasn't that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science–how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.

Thanks for watching!Visit Website

Watson and Crick's solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month's issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals.Website

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson's book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery. When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.


Thanks to Dr. Rich and YP

For those interested in buying the Old fighter pilot challenge coin


Thanks to Carl . Those of you who know me know that I am sort of a workout junky. I call the gym the only fountain of youth. This article will let you know that the benefits of a good workout are unbeatable. Especially when you do it regularly. skip

(Here is a good site with excellent, common sense exercise info: )

The Stealth Speed at Which You Lose Muscle


Pilot Down... The Rescue of Roger Locher

Thanks to Billy ….and Dr. Rich

Thanks Lloyd!

This has been around before. But, it is so darned good it had me spellbound again. Likely, it will swell your chest up, perhaps bring a tear. It is all about things too many American's no longer place the high value on that they should. At least I believe they should...

BGEN Steve Ritchie flew over 800 combat hours in the F4 Phantom during 339 missions. He is the only Air Force pilot "Ace" of Vietnam war. He is a captivating speaker and I assure you that the minutes spent watching this video will leave you feeling rewarded.


Another excellent article

thanks to GM and Dutch


Thanks to Dutch

How does Covid19 compare to the annual flu?

thanks to Stan, who brings some math to the issue -

First, what is the published average annual death rate from "the flu" (which is a family of cold viruses) for the past ten years?

Out of a maximum of 45 million cases per year in the USA, the death rate is about 61,000 people.

That Yields a death rate of 0.001356, or 0.136 percent (a little more than a tenth of a percent).

Ok how does that compare to the world death rate for SARS2-Covid19 From about Dec 15th to Feb 20th for the world? (mostly China)

80,000 cases, if it was the flu, the death rate would be about 105 individuals; But Covid19 killed approximately 1,800 people in that time.

The bad news. Covid19 is X17 (SEVENTEEN TIMES) more lethal than the flu. With the data available so far.

And the experts tell us that Covid19 has a spread rate of about 4.6 Per 5 days, around 20 times more contagious than the flu.

Are there flaws in my logic or math? As expected ALL govr-mints are downplaying the seriousness of the situation.

Stock up on supplies my friends. Feedback welcome.

P.s. If Covid19 really is 20x more contagious than the Flu, that means just about every person in the USA is going to catch it eventually.

It would be a certainty that the health care system would collapse completely. Expect to be on your own.


Thanks to Carl

Stroke—Even the middle-aged are vulnerable—Know the signs and what to do! - HBN Show

Stroke—Even the middle-aged are vulnerable—Know the signs and what to do!

Martie Whittekin, CCN February 28, 2020

It is a myth that strokes are only a risk for the elderly. Case in point, actor Luke Perry (star of Beverly Hills, 90210' and 'Riverdale' died from one at age 52! Stroke can happen at any age and apparently fame and fortune don't protect you.

A stroke is when the brain is deprived of oxygen when either a clot travels to the brain and stops the blood flow (87% of the cases) or when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and blood floods the area. In either case, it is estimated that 1.9 million brain cells are at risk every minute the brain goes without oxygen. The area of the brain affected will determine what functions might be lost. For example, a block on the right side of the brain might make the left side of the body unresponsive or cause impulsive behavior and poor judgement. Another brain area would affect speech, vision or cause memory trouble.

Prevention is optimal and we will get to that. However, since fast action in case of a stroke can save the life of someone near you or at least lessen disability, I'd like to start with an alert to the warning signs. Getting to the emergency room FAST can make all the difference in a full recovery versus a life dealing with paralysis and disability. If you aren't sure, err on the side of calling 911—NOT waiting and watching. And, it is probably better not to drive the person to the ER. The 911 emergency personnel will get there fast and can start treatment on the way!

SYMPTOMS. These are important clues that a stroke has occurred (from

Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven or lopsided?

Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

Time to Call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms and even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

You will notice that the first letters of the bullets above form the word: "FAST". Not only is that a simple tool to help remember what to check, it is also a reminder to act quickly. (Seconds count!) Everyone in your home and office should be familiar with these signs.

Sophisticated and effective treatments include IV's of medications to dissolve clots and a procedure called a thrombectomy whereby the medical team feeds a device from the groin through an artery and removes the offending clot.


Keeping the circulatory system in general healthy helps prevent both kinds of stroke. For example, strong vessels won't spring a leak and avoiding high blood pressure also improves the odds of having such an event. Buildups of plaque will avoid clots. Another cause of clots appears to be atrial fibrillation, a common type of irregular heartbeat.

Risk factors (the very type of things we talk about so frequently on the Healthy by Nature Show:

High blood pressure (135/85 or higher)

Excess weight around the waist (measuring more than 40" in men and 35" in women)

Triglyceride level at 150 mg/dl or greater

LDL cholesterol above 100

HDL cholesterol below 40 mg/dl for men and below 50 mg/dl for women

High blood sugar

Stress that is poorly managed

After a stroke: Stroke treatment is one area where modern conventional medicine shines. They really can work near miracles, especially if you get to them promptly. Then there is physical and occupational therapy to return diminished functions. I would certainly add the Brain Light Pro to the list of tools. It helps repair the circulation to the affected part of the brain.


The medical supply chain and dependence on China

thanks to Stan and Dutch

February 24, 2020 Topic: Economics Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: ChinaEconomicsTechnologyCoronavirus


[Edited to remove advertising only and minor format/font sizes – Stan]

Coronavirus Is Killing China's Factories (And Creating Economic Chaos)

"Walmart, which essentially forces suppliers to manufacture in China, told consumers to "save money, live better." Yet how can they live better if store shelves are bare?"

by Gordon G. ChangFollow @GordonGChang on TwitterL

This looks like the end of China's central role in global supply chains. A microbe in China—and the response of a totalitarian government—is killing it. Americans are angry. "I was on the phone with leaders from several hospitals in New York, and they told me that they had contracts with Chinese companies where they were waiting on things like plastic gloves, masks, all of this stuff where they were on the ships on their way to the U.S., and the Chinese government said 'no, no, no, no, turn around, we need this stuff,' " said Maria Bartiromo on her Fox Business Network show "Mornings with Maria," on the 19th of this month. "How is anybody going to trust China in terms of keeping up their end of the bargain again in business?"

The influential television anchor is voicing a concern heard throughout America these days. Peter Navarro, who appeared on her Fox News Channel show on the 23rd, provided more reasons for cutting links with Chinese suppliers. "China put export restrictions on those masks and then nationalized an American factory that produces them there," said President Donald Trump's director of trade and manufacturing policy, referring to N95 masks, used for protection against the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The coronavirus has exposed a critical vulnerability. Americans at the moment are short of N95s. And that is not the only type of mask they need. Factories in China cannot open for, among other reasons, lack of industrial masks, so Beijing has taken steps to keep these Chinese-produced items in country. "Industrial safety masks have been banned from export from China," Jonathan Bass, the owner of Los Angeles-based PTM Images, told me last week. "China has shown us that they will ban the export of masks for the protection of their own people over the protection of all people," Bass said. "This shows us that America is extremely vulnerable to China's whim of cutting exports for health-and-safety-related products. What's next? Pharmaceuticals to save lives? Rare earth metals? Shoes?"

Whatever the goods, the disruption in supply will last longer than most analysts think. Giant container ships are skipping Chinese ports or are leaving only 10 percent full. At the port of Long Beach, Bass tells me, container traffic is down about 40 percent. That's the result of closed Chinese factories.

Chinese factories were scheduled to reopen February 9, 10 days after the end of the Lunar New Year holiday. Yet as Simina Mistreanu, who writes for Forbes on the Chinese manufacturing sector, notes, many plants remain closed. She cites the situation around Chengdu, where authorities require factories to provide two masks daily for each worker. In order to start production, a plant must show it has a two-week inventory of masks. Masks are unavailable, so in one cluster outside the city only five of about 50 companies have gone back to work.

It appears the one general exception to the slow-start are state defense industries. Even if factories could operate at full blast, logistics businesses are not. Warehouses are shut, making shipments extremely difficult. Moreover, as Bass points out, containers are now left sitting on the dock at the Tianjin and Ningbo ports for extended periods. Containers bound for the U.S. are being loaded as much as four weeks late.

Some believe shortages will become noticeable at American retailers in mid-April, but the big-box stores are especially vulnerable because they generally keep inventories to a minimum. So Walmart shelves, a friend tells me, might show empty spots next month. And try to buy an iPhone this spring. On the 17th of this month, Apple announced it expected to miss its revenue forecast for the current quarter, in part due to shortages of that iconic product. The Chinese slowdown is far more serious than many believe. Analysts, looking back to the SARS epidemic in 2002-03, are predicting a "V"—quick—recovery.

This time, the recovery could resemble an "L," in part because the disruption is so much greater than it was back then. Even the best-run companies this time are being taken by surprise. Apple, given its dependence on the Chinese market, has its pulse on China, but the company issued its overoptimistic guidance on January 28, less than three weeks before the revenue-miss announcement on the 17th. That's an indication of the fast erosion in China's economy. And this brings us back to America's dependence on China for critical products. More important than phones, China's troubles look like they will result in shortages of 150 prescription pharmaceuticals, some of which have "no alternatives." Yet Beijing last week said it wanted to become an even more important part of the world's healthcare supply chains. The epidemic, however, tells us we must move in the opposite direction. After all, why should anyone want to become even more vulnerable to an unreliable supplier?

Foreigners were strategically short-sighted in relying on an inherently unstable and belligerent regime in China for the supply of goods, yet any reliance can be problematic at times. "In crises like this, we have no allies," Navarro told Bartiromo on Sunday. "Back in 2009 during the swine flu problem, our best friends in Australia, Great Britain, and Canada basically denied us what we needed. Australia refused to send 35 million doses of vaccine." As Navarro said, the administration is now working "Trump-time" to solve supply-chain issues. President Trump has been thinking about these matters for a long time. On July 21, 2017, he issued his Executive Order on Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply China Resiliency of the United States.

The Defense Industrial Base study, as it is known, helped pushed the administration in 2018 to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to preserve the U.S. industrial base. These much-criticized tariffs were a good move, first and foremost a national security measure. So in a sense were the tariffs Trump imposed on China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. These tariffs, by creating uncertainty as to the future of U.S.-China trade ties, encouraged companies to move portions of their supply chain out of that troubled country.

Of course, companies were able to provide goods at low cost when they established factories in China, but now the world better appreciates the cost of low-cost goods. Moving toward self-sufficiency will make products more expensive, but at least they will be available. Walmart, which essentially forces suppliers to manufacture in China, told consumers to "save money, live better." Yet how can they live better if store shelves are bare?

Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China. Follow him on Twitter @GordonGChang.

News from Around the world from Military Periscope for 28 February

Turkey—Path To Europe Opened To Refugees Following Idlib Attack Guardian | 02/28/2020 The Turkish government has opened its border crossings to allow refugees coming from Syria to continue into Europe, reports the Guardian (U.K.). Turkish police, coast guard and border officials were ordered to cease preventing Syrian refugees from traveling to Europe, Turkish officials said. The move is an effort to force the European Union and NATO to back its operations in Syria's northwestern Idlib province after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in airstrikes there on Thursday. In 2016, Ankara agreed with the E.U. to prevent Syrian refugees from reaching the border after more than 1 million arrived in Europe between 2015 and 2016, prompting a political crisis, noted Reuters. Greek and Bulgarian authorities have tightened their borders, with Bulgaria deploying 1,000 troops and military equipment.

Afghanistan—Combined U.S., Taliban Pressure Halve ISIS Strength, Report Says American Military News | 02/28/2020 Around half of the militants fighting with the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have been killed over the past year, according to a recent Pentagon report cited by American Military News. An estimated 2,500 to 5,000 ISIS fighters were active as of September 2019, according to the Inspector General's report that was released last week. Obtaining an accurate count of the group's strength remains difficult, noted the Military Times. Recent successes included the retaking of the group's base of operations in Nangarhar province in November. The operation resulted in 300 fighters surrendering to the Afghan government. Taliban attacks on ISIS fighters have also chipped away at its strength. ISIS continues to operate despite its heavy losses over the last several months, the study says.

Syria—Israeli Striks Hit Army Positions In Golan Heights Times of Israel | 02/28/2020 Israel has conducted a series of airstrikes in the Golan heights, killing one and injuring three, reports the Times of Israel. On Thursday, Israeli helicopters hit Syrian army positions in the city of Quneitra and near the towns of al-Qataniyah and al-Hurriyet, reported the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Three soldiers were injured in the strikes. Israel has not commented on the attacks. SANA also said that earlier an Israeli UAV had attacked a civilian vehicle in Quneitra province, near the border with Israel, killing its occupant. The driver was reportedly a local commander for Hezbollah, according to Syrian media reports.

France—Government Rejects Malian Ambassador's Comments On French Troops Agence France-Presse | 02/28/2020 France has summoned the Malian ambassador after he made disparaging comments about French troops fighting militants in Mali, reports Agence France-Presse. On Thursday, Malian Ambassador Toumani Djime Diallo was summoned to the French Foreign Ministry to explain his comments. Diallo complained about the behavior of French soldiers in Bamako to French senators on Wednesday. Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said such allegations were "indecent" when French troops were risking their lives to protect Malian citizens. She called on the ambassador to focus his efforts on implementing the goals agreed during the Pau summit in January. Approximately 5,100 French soldiers are deployed across the Sahel region to fight various Islamist militant groups. The French presence has faced local criticism, including protests in Bamako last month.

Somalia—Fighting Breaks Out Between Government Troops, Regional Militia Reuters | 02/28/2020 At least 11 people have died in fighting between government forces and a regional militia in central Somalia, reports Reuters. Late Thursday, clashes broke out between Somali soldiers and members of the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a (ASWJ) militia in Dhusamareb, the administrative capital of Galmudug state. On Friday, the fighting spread to the town of Guriel, around 40 miles (60 km) away. Somali troops accused the ASWJ of starting the fighting after firing on a checkpoint. Militia leaders said the army provoked the clashes. Somali forces attacked the homes of militia leaders, Dhusamareb residents said. The fighting took place in the center of the towns and involved mortars and anti-aircraft guns, said locals. The clashes are the latest result of internal rivalries among the militias and government troops that have stalled operations against the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

Syria—33 Turkish Troops Die In Idlib Airstrike Washington Post | 02/28/2020 At least 33 Turkish troops have been killed in an airstrike in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, reports the Washington Post. On Thursday night, aircraft attacked Turkish forces near Behun, in southern Idlib where Turkey maintains several observation posts. As many as 36 soldiers were wounded in the attack, Turkish officials said. The Russian government denied that Russian aircraft had conducted the strike, saying none of its jets were in the area when the attack occurred. Ankara appears to have deemed the Syrian regime responsible for the strike. Turkish officials said they had been coordinating with Russia at the time of the attack and that the strikes continued despite a warning that Turkish troops had been hit in an initial attack, reported the Anadolu Agency (Ankara). The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had not been informed of the presence of Turkish troops around Behun. Turkey retaliated against Syrian government forces following the attack. Footage from uncrewed aerial vehicles showed armored vehicle convoys, moving elements, headquarters and arsenals being hit in airstrikes. According to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, 200 government targets were hit and 309 Syrian soldiers "neutralized," reported BBC News. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone call on Friday to discuss the incident and the need for new measures to de-escalate the situation.

Tunisia—New Government Begins Work Reuters | 02/28/2020 A new coalition government has been sworn into office in Tunisia, reports Reuters. The government was sworn in on Friday after it was formally approved by the Parliament late Thursday night. Tunisia has suffered from political instability since the fall of the autocratic government during the 2011 Arab Spring. It has gone through nine governments since and difficult reforms in areas such as public spending, energy subsidies and state-owned firms are needed. Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh leads the government, with representatives from across the political spectrum receiving Cabinet posts. Fakhfakh is a former constitutional law professor and member of a self-described Muslim democratic party, reported Al Jazeera (Qatar).

Russia—Black Sea Fleet Frigates Head To Med Tass | 02/28/2020 Russia is sending two frigates from the Black Sea Fleet to join a navy task force in the Mediterranean Sea, reports Russia's Tass news agency. On Feb. 28, the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Grigorovich sailed through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits from the Black Sea, the Black Sea Fleet said. Both ships conducted drills at ranges in the Black Sea after sailing from Sevastopol. The frigates, armed with Kalibr long-range cruise missiles, will join their sister, the Admiral Essen, which has been in the Mediterranean since December. The deployment comes amid rising tensions with Turkey in Syria.

Turkey—Warships Join NATO Drills Off Sicily Anadolu News Agency | 02/28/2020 Several Turkish naval vessels and aircraft are taking part in NATO's Dynamic Manta joint exercise off the coast of Italy, reports the Anadolu Agency (Ankara). Dynamic Manta began Feb. 24 and runs through March 6. It is being held off the coast of Sicily. Turkey has dispatched the frigate Salihreis, including an S-70 maritime helicopter, a submarine and a maritime patrol aircraft to the training. The exercise covers anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations, including 45 submarine defense warfare sessions. Participants are implementing and testing aerial, surface and submarine cooperation designed to counter underwater threats in the Ionian Sea and eastern Mediterranean. The U.S., Spain, France, Germany, Canada, England, Italy and Greece are participating in Dynamic Manta along with Turkey.

Iran—Top Officials Test Positive For COVID-19 Anadolu News Agency | 02/28/2020 Several senior Iranian officials, including one of the country's vice presidents, have tested positive for COVID-19, reports the Anadolu Agency (Ankara). Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president for women and family affairs, tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. The day before, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi and legislator Mahmoud Sadeghi had also tested positive. On Thursday, at least two representatives of Qom were reported stricken with the virus, one seriously. Iran is apparently dealing with one of the deadliest outbreaks of COVID-19, with 26 deaths confirmed by Iran's Health Ministry, which reported 245 cases of the coronavirus as of Thursday. The cause of Iran's high apparent mortality rate is unknown, but could be the result of an outbreak among older, more vulnerable segments of the population, said experts cited by NBC News. It has also been speculated that Iranian officials are hiding the scope of the crisis by releasing official figures that are much lower than the real ones, reported Radio Farda. Globally, the fatality rate is 3.4 percent, compared to Iran's official rate of 10.6 percent.

South Africa—Phones Of Senior Security Officials Cloned News24 | 02/28/2020 The mobile phones of several senior members of South Africa's State Security Agency were recently discovered to have been cloned, reports News24 (South Africa). The cell phones of State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and deputy minister Zizi Kodwa were among those compromised, the agency revealed on Wednesday. The cloning was discovered after texts were received from Kodwa's phone that he had not sent, reported Reuters. The incident raises questions regarding the agency's security following a robbery at its office in Lyttelton, Guateng, last month. During the incident, several classified documents were taken, along with money and CCTV cameras.

Swaziland—Air Wing Takes Delivery Of Donated Taiwanese Helos Defence Web | 02/28/2020 Taiwan has donated a pair of helicopters to the Swaziland military, reports Defence Web (South Africa). Swaziland is formally known as the Kingdom of eSwatini after King Mswati changed it in 2018. The UH-1H helicopters were transferred on Feb. 21 during a ceremony at the royal palace outside the capital of Mbabane. The former Taiwanese air force helicopters arrived in the country in early February, reported Jane's Defence Weekly. In addition to the helicopters, Taiwan also provided training for five pilots and five ground technicians. The Hueys will be used for disaster relief and medical evacuation missions as well as to support the police, reported the eSwatini Observer. Taiwan has been donating retired UH-1H helicopters after it replaced its fleet with UH-60 Black Hawks last year. Paraguay, Honduras, Guatemala and Burkina Faso have all received donated aircraft in the last few years.

USA—Air-Launched Hypersonic Missile Passes Design Review Breaking Defense | 02/28/2020 The AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) has successfully concluded its critical design review, reports Breaking Defense. The milestone was reached on Thursday, said Lockheed Martin officials, who indicated that the Air Force was pleased with progress to date. Lockheed began working on the AGM-183A in 2018 under a $480 million concept development contract from the Air Force. It was awarded a $998 million contract in December 2019 to complete the critical design review. The defense firm is working on multiple hypersonic projects, all of which are expected to go through a design review or test over the next one to two years, said John Varley, Lockheed's vice president of hypersonics. The ARRW is expected to receive an increase in development funding following the service's termination of the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) project earlier this month.

Indonesia—3 Injured In Militant Attack Antara News Agency | 02/28/2020 At least three people have been wounded in a gunfight in Indonesia's Papua province, reports Antara News, Indonesia's state-run news agency. On Wednesday, an armed group attacked a military outpost in the village of Koteka in the Nduga regency. Two civilians and a police officer were wounded in the assault. The civilians were treated at a local hospital, while the police officer was evacuated to Jakarta. Indonesian military and police units were initially deployed to the regency in 2018 following an attack that killed 17 construction workers. Security personnel are protecting workers building a bridge in the region, said a police official.

Israel—European Customer Chooses BlueBird Tactical UAVs BlueBird Aero Systems | 02/28/2020 An unidentified European country has ordered 150 vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) uncrewed aerial vehicles from BlueBird Aero Systems, reports the Israeli manufacturer. The deal was worth tens of millions of dollars, the company said on Wednesday. The sale includes the WanderB-VTOL mini-UAV and ThunderB-VTOL tactical UAV, which were selected based on their high operational flexibility and performance in their categories, said BlueBird. The WanderB weighs 29 pounds (13 kg) and has a range of 30 miles (50 km), noted Defense News. The ThunderB weighs 71 pounds (32 kg), has a range of 90 miles (150 km) and can carry a small payload under each wing. The systems met the customer's requirement for the larger system to fit in a carrying case and the smaller in an individual's backpack. The drones are to be employed by infantry, armor, artillery and special operations units.

USA—Army Halfway Through Destroying Mustard Agent Stockpile In Colo. Program Executive Office Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives | 02/28/2020 The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Colorado has successfully destroyed over half of the U.S. Army's stockpile of mustard agent munitions at the Pueblo Chemical Weapons Depot, reports the Program Executive Office Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO-ACWA). Approximately 220,000 munitions were destroyed to reach the 50 percent milestone, said project officials. Chemical munitions stored at the site include 155-mm and 105-mm howitzer rounds as well as 4.2-inch mortar rounds. The plant is working its way through the stockpile of 155-mm rounds and is expected to complete that effort later this year. The plant will then begin destroying the 105-mm rounds. The 4.2-inch mortar rounds and other problematic rounds will be destroyed in three static detonation chambers that are currently under construction. The program office expects to meet a congressional mandate to eliminate the mustard gas stockpile completely by 2023. The U.S. is destroying its chemical weapons stockpile to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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