Thursday, November 23, 2017

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 23, 2017

Brad Lendon, Zachary Cohen and Steve George, CNN: Can the world's mightiest naval fleet survive the perfect storm?

It was a once-in-a-decade display of American firepower.

Three US Navy aircraft carriers -- the largest, most sophisticated warships in history -- assembled off the Korean Peninsula, in a move timed to coincide with US President Donald Trump's first official visit to the region.

But behind the dramatic show of force, questions are emerging as to whether the US Navy is up to the challenges it faces in the Pacific -- from both a nuclear-armed North Korea and a strengthening China -- at a time when its top leaders acknowledge it lacks the money, manpower and weapons to ensure success. And when a massive corruption scandal threatens the ranks of dozens of its top officers.

The three-carrier exercise, conducted in early November with South Korean and Japanese warships, was just one of about 160 multilateral and bilateral exercises performed this year in the area of operations overseen by the Navy's 7th Fleet, a Navy spokesperson told CNN. That's about one exercise every two days.

And the tempo of operations isn't slowing.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 23, 2017

US, S. Korean Soldiers Receive Medals for Defector Rescue -- and Stripes

South Korea considers scrapping a military exercise with U.S. for Winter Olympics -- Business Insider

Israeli official under fire for comments on American Jews' military service -- Reuters

Israeli defense minister seeks defense budget boost -- Defense News

Saudi Arabia to buy $7bn-worth of US precision weapons from Raytheon & Boeing – report -- RT

General Staff chief not ruling out Russian military contingent in Syria may be cut -- TASS

Top Russian general says Moscow likely to reduce its troops in Syria -- Reuters

Bristling With Antennas, Russia's A-100 Is Likely More Than Just A New Radar Plane -- The Warzone/The Drive

Putin notes stable world demand for Russian military products -- TASS

Russian Military Jets Fly Over Sea of Japan for Special Drill Amid North Korea Tensions -- Newsweek

Russian chief of General Staff to visit Japan on December 11-13 -- TASS

Japan-Philippines Defense Ties in the Spotlight with New Vessels -- The Diplomat

Japan held drills with nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 strategic bomber in August -- Japan Times

‘Get Used to It’: China Flies Warplanes, Spy Jets Past Taiwan, Japan -- Sputnik

China Grants Economic Aid to Djibouti, Site of Overseas Military Base -- US News and World Report

India Struggles to Solve its Fighter Jet Procurement Puzzle -- Sputnik

Digitizing military will cost Europe up to €41 billion per year: study --

Listening to Russia: Danish spooks building 85m tower on Baltic island to spy on comms -- RT

Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles from US Army Stockpile Headed to Eastern Europe -- DoD Buzz

Ships, aircraft search for 3 U.S. sailors missing in crash -- CBS/AP

Marine Harrier ‘Departed Controlled Flight’ Before 2016 Water Crash -- DoD Buzz

Marines roll out new anti-tank weapon system -- UPI

The F-22 Mission in Afghanistan: Overkill or Realistic Training? -- Defense Tech

Portland's 142nd Fighter Wing Launches 13 F-15C/Ds Eagles In Rare Snap Readiness Drill -- The Warzone/The Drive

Huntington Ingalls launches 8th National Security Cutter for Coast Guard -- UPI

US Navy Abolishes Practice of Pepper Spraying its Sailors Every Three Years -- Sputnik

How Marine Special Operations Command takes driving school to the next level -- Business Insider/We Are The Mighty

How the military handles the remains of fallen troops -- ABC News

On the Business Models of War -- Everett C. Dolman, RCD

See how members of the US military celebrate Thanksgiving in warzones -- Business Insider

Japan May Develop A Land-Attack Cruise Missile

The guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) successfully launches its second Tomahawk missile during weapons testing. Sterett is underway off the coast of Southern California conducting Tomahawk missile testing in preparation for an upcoming deployment. (US Navy photo)

Asia Times: Japan eyes developing land-attack cruise missile against N. Korea

Souped-up version of US Tomahawk

Japan’s military usually uses off-the-shelf US military hardware like F-15 fighters and Aegis missiles. But this is changing in the face of an escalating military threat from North Korea.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier this week that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is mulling developing a stealthy, specialized Japanese cruise missile that can hit ground targets. The weapon would be a much-improved version of the US Tomahawk cruise missile.

If developed, the made-in-Japan missile would help retake remote islands that have been occupied by China or other potential foes. But the weapon will also be designed to hit military bases in North Korea.

Read more ....

Update: Japan Is Looking At Developing its Very Own Land Attack Capable Cruise Missile (The Drive).

WNU Editor: This is an offensive weapon that Japan is saying they will need to protect their islands because of the dispute that they with China. But the real target is North Korea.

Iran To Send WarshipsTo The Gulf of Mexico

Iran’s new naval chief, Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi. Photo: TNA.

Tasnim: Iran to Send Naval Forces to Gulf of Mexico: Commander

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – New commander of the Iranian Navy unveiled plans for dispatching military watercraft to Latin America, saying Iranian naval forces will soon sail into the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking in his first press conference after taking the office, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said Iran’s naval forces will soon go to the Atlantic Ocean, visit some South American countries, and wave the Iranian flag in the Gulf of Mexico.

Highlighting plans to develop military gear for operations in international waters, the commander said the Navy would unveil new vessels and submarines within the next year.

He also noted that the homegrown Separ (shield) missile-launching corvette will join the Caspian fleet next week, describing it as a symbol of the Iranian efforts for peace in the Caspian Sea.

Read more ....

Update #1: New Cold War? Iran Sends Warships to Gulf of Mexico (Newsweek)
Update #2: Islamic Republic’s New Navy Commander Looks to ‘Fly Iranian Flag in the Gulf of Mexico’ (Algemeiner)

WNU Editor: The Iranians have been boasting that they are going to do this (send warships off the coast of the U.S.) for a long time .... Iran To Send A Naval Task Force Into The Western Atlantic (August 14, 2017).

Did President Trump Give Russia The Contents Of A Classified, And Highly Sensitive, Israeli Intelligence Operation?

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, President Donald Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on May 10th, 2017. By Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

Vanity Fair: Exclusive: What Trump Really Told Kislyak After Comey Was Canned

During a May 10 meeting in the Oval Office, the president betrayed his intelligence community by leaking the content of a classified, and highly sensitive, Israeli intelligence operation to two high-ranking Russian envoys, Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov. This is what he told them—and the ramifications.

On a dark night at the tail end of last winter, just a month after the inauguration of the new American president, an evening when only a sickle moon hung in the Levantine sky, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters flew low across Jordan and then, staying under the radar, veered north toward the twisting ribbon of shadows that was the Euphrates River. On board, waiting with a professional stillness as they headed into the hostile heart of Syria, were Sayeret Matkal commandos, the Jewish state’s elite counterterrorism force, along with members of the technological unit of the Mossad, its foreign-espionage agency. Their target: an ISIS cell that was racing to get a deadly new weapon thought to have been devised by Ibrahim al-Asiri, the Saudi national who was al-Qaeda’s master bombmaker in Yemen.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Vanity Fair admits that it is making a lot of assumptions in the above report. It is sourced from anonymous contacts, some of it contradictory, and none that can be verified or proven. From my own sources in ICAO (I worked at ICAO 25 years ago) .... and for those who may not know, ICAO is the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization .... I have been told that they did get a report on this terror lap-top warning (I was not told on who was the source of this intel, but apparently the members at ICAO know where it came from), and that security was increased at certain airports in the Middle East.

More News On Reports That President Trump Gave Russia Details On An Israeli Intelligence Operation

Report: Trump Revealed Israeli Commando and Mossad Operation in Syria to Russians -- Israel Haaretz
Trump divulged to Russia details of a daring Israeli raid in Syria — report -- The Times of Israel
Report: Trump revealed info on covert Israeli mission in Syria -- Arutz Sheva
REVEALED: The secret Israeli commando operation that discovered ISIS could turn laptops into bombs and led to US airline ban -- Daily Mail
Revealed: The highly sensitive Israeli intelligence on Isis that Donald Trump gave away to Russia -- The Independent

Germany's Angela Merkel Poll Ratings Fall To An All-Time Low

The Times: Merkel poll ratings at new low after coalition talks fail

Angela Merkel’s poll ratings fell to an all-time low yesterday after the breakdown of talks on forming a coalition government as the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stepped up efforts to avoid new elections.

Mrs Merkel appeared to be paying the price for the failure of negotiations, with one snap survey putting her conservatives on 29.2 per cent — the first time they have been below 30 per cent since she took over in 2000.

Read more ....

Update #1: Merkel TANKS in the polls: Chancellor ratings slump as German anger grows (Business Insider)
Update #2: Half of Germans want new elections after coalition talks fail (Business Insider/Reuters).

WNU Editor: The above Times article is behind a pay-wall, but the poll numbers say it all. The German press has a different take, and they are probably right .... Angela Merkel's German coalition crisis greatly exaggerated (DW). Germany's top two political parties will lose badly in another election, so I will not be surprised if both parties start working together .... Pressure grows on SPD to reconsider coalition talks with Angela Merkel (The Guardian).

Pentagon Investigating The Behavior Of Its Military Personnel On President Trump's Asia Trip

US President Donald Trump gets on a plane. Photo: Reuters / Yuri Gripas

Politico: Pentagon investigating behavior of military personnel on Trump's Asia trip

The Pentagon is investigating the behavior of military officers during President Donald Trump's 12-day trip to Asia earlier this month, officials told the Washington Post Tuesday, with three personnel reassigned from their White House jobs due to allegations of improper contact with foreign women.

The three military personnel reportedly being probed work for the White House Communications Agency, a military support unit that aids the President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the Secret Service by providing them with secure communications, the Post reported, citing officials close to the matter

Read more ....

More News On The Pentagon Investigating The Behavior Of Its Military Personnel On President Trump's Asia Trip

White House military personnel removed amid investigation into contacts with foreign women during Trump's Asia trip -- Washington Post
White House military personnel reassigned after ‘incident’ on Trump’s Asia trip: report -- The Hill
White House personnel investigated for improper foreign contact during Trump's Asia trip -- CBC/Reuters
White House Military Personnel Removed After Having Improper Contact With Foreign Women During Trump's Asia Trip -- Task & Purpose
White House personnel accused of improper contact with foreign women -- The Australian
3 US Army soldiers reportedly made improper contact with foreign women during Trump's trip to Asia -- Business Insider

Pentagon Report: Misbehavior And Sex Complaints Against Brass And Senior Defense Officials Are Spiking

USA Today: Pentagon reports spike in misbehavior, sex complaints against brass, senior civilians

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon Tuesday reported a rise in complaints of misconduct against military brass and senior civilian officials over the last two years, and a steady trend in proven allegations of sexual misbehavior and improper relationships among its most senior officials.

The increase in complaints and steady stream of disgraced generals, admirals and senior officials comes despite the Pentagon’s repeated stance that it has a “zero-tolerance” policy for such ethical and legal misbehavior.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon Inspector General reported a 13% increase from fiscal year 2015 to 2017 in the number of complaints alleging misconduct among senior officials, from 710 to 803. Moreover, the Inspector General found that investigators continued to substantiate allegations against senior officials, including sexual misconduct, at a steady rate.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When many of your top generals, admirals, and defense officials are behaving like this, you have a problem ....

.... military investigators had documented at least 500 cases of serious misconduct among generals, admirals and senior civilian officials for the fiscal years 2013 through 2016.

The culture is changing when it comes to this type of behavior .... and with it comes publicity and legal consequences. I think we are seeing the tip of the iceberg right now.

Report: American Mercenaries Are Carrying Out Interrogations On Princes And Billionaires Arrested In Crackdown

Presence: The Ritz Carlton in Riyadh is said to be guarded by Saudi special forces but inside, the interrogations are said to be carried out by American contractors. Blackwater's successor firm, Academi, denies any involvement

Daily Mail: EXCLUSIVE: 'American mercenaries are torturing' Saudi elite rounded up by new crown prince - and billionaire Prince Alwaleed was hung upside down 'just to send a message'

* Source in Saudi Arabia says American private security contractors are carrying out 'interrogations' on princes and billionaires arrested in crackdown
* Detained members of Saudi elite have been hung by their feet and beaten by interrogates, source says
* Among those hung upside down are Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an investor worth at least $7 billion who is being held at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton
* Arrests were ordered three weeks ago by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
* Source claims mercenaries are from 'Blackwater', a claim also made by Lebanese president
* But its successor firm denies it has any operations in Saudi Arabia whatsoever and says its staff abide by U.S. law
* Americans who commit torture abroad can be jailed for up to 20 years

Saudi princes and billionaire businessmen arrested in a power grab earlier this month are being strung up by their feet and beaten by American private security contractors, a source in the country tells

The group of the country's most powerful figures were arrested in a crackdown ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman three weeks ago as he ordered the detention of at least 11 fellow princes and hundreds of businessmen and government officials over claims of corruption.

Read more .....

WNU Editor: Americans torturing "corrupt" Saudi billionaires .... would love to know what the average Saudi on the street thinks about that.

Tweets For Today

Can The A-10 Be Made More Lethal?

Col. Mark Anderson (Tail No. 188), 188th Fighter Wing commander; Maj. Doug Davis (Tail No. 639), 188th Detachment 1 commander; Col. Brian Burger (Tail No. 613), 188th Operations Group commander; and Capt. Wade Hendrickson (Tail No. 638) conduct a training mission Dec. 30, 2013, over Razorback Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch)

DoD Buzz: Academy Cadets: We Want to Make the A-10 Even More Lethal

A pair of Air Force Academy cadets selected for pilot training are not only preparing for their day in the cockpit — they’re also looking to boost the performance and lethality of the A-10 Warthog.

Cadets 1st Class Jon Clegg and John Potthoff have been working at the academy “to research decreasing maintenance requirements and increase munitions capability,” according to a service release.

“We’re working together to investigate replacing the existing leading-edge slat system with a fixed leading-edge droop to reduce complexity on this important aircraft,” Potthoff said in the release.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Leave it to the youngsters to figure out how to make something better .... or in this case .... more lethal.

Picture Of The Day

Vladimir Putin (L) and Bashar Assad in Sochi, Russia November 20, 2017. © Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this news story .... Warm embrace: Assad in surprise Putin meeting ahead of Moscow’s talks with Turkey, Iran (RT).

The Pentagon Wants Artifical Computer Platforms The Ability To Learn

IEEE Spectrum: DARPA Seeking AI That Learns All the Time

Earlier this month a self-driving shuttle in Las Vegas patiently waited as a delivery truck backed up, then backed up some more, then backed right into it. Inconveniently for the roboshuttle’s developer Navya, this happened within hours of the shuttle’s inauguration ceremony. The real problem is that the shuttle can’t learn from the incident the way a human would: immediately and without forgetting how to do everything else in the process.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to change the way AI works through a program it calls L2M, or Lifelong Learning Machines. The agency is looking for systems that learn continuously, adapt to new tasks, and know what to learn and when. “We want the rigor of automation with the flexibility of the human,” says the program’s director Hava T. Siegelmann. The US $65-million program has already chosen 16 groups for 4-year projects, but according to Siegelmann there is still opportunity to propose 12- or 18-month projects.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: One step away from Skynet?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

U.S. Lawmakers Push To Regulate Facebook

From left, Colin Stretch, general counsel for Facebook, Sean Edgett, acting general counsel for Twitter, and Richard Salgado, director of law enforcement and information security at Google, are sworn in before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions related to Russian use of social media on Nov. 1, 2017. Joshua Roberts, Reuters file

NBC: Should Washington begin regulating Facebook? Some lawmakers say yes.

WASHINGTON — For weeks, Facebook has been under intense scrutiny in Washington after revelations about Russian attempts to use the platform to influence the 2016 elections. Now, some lawmakers are talking about turning that scrutiny into action.

There are new calls on Capitol Hill for stronger federal regulation of Facebook, possibly requiring greater transparency and disclosures for digital political ads. But lawmakers have yet to take up more sweeping reforms that some internet policy experts and advocates believe are necessary to protect users of the social-media platform, given Facebook’s outsize influence and vast stores of personal data.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If there is one thing that governments hate .... it is not being able to control the message. Social media does provide a platform where alternative messages can be disseminated .... and not surprising governments like China, Russia, Iran, etc. have all moved to regulate it. And now .... not surprising .... U.S. lawmakers want to do the same thing, starting with regulating advertising. From the looks of it  .... there is bipartisan support to impose some form of regulation, and I will not be surprised if they succeed in imposing rules and regulations on political advertising. But my gut is telling me that they will not stop there .... the goal is to regulate the content .... specifically content that focuses on politics. The question is .... how can it be done without producing a constitutional challenge on free speech .... and will they succeed. On that question .... I am not sure of the answer but if I was to make a prediction, they will do it like this .... Eric Schmidt Says Google News Will 'Engineer' Russian Propaganda Out of the Feed (MotherBoard). More here .... Google will ‘de-rank’ RT articles to make them harder to find – Eric Schmidt (RT). In short .... you can post your content, but the search engines (including the search engines that Social Media use) will ignore you.

Building A Better Helmet

Machine Design: Army Investigates New, Tougher Materials for Helmets

Poly elastomers take a beating and bounce right back.

A new method for testing the durability of polymers—courtesy of researchers at the Army Research Lab and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has revealed that some materials appear to strengthen themselves when struck by rapidly moving objects. These materials could be used in future U.S. Army helmets and armor.

The engineers discovered that when targets made of poly(urethane urea) elastomers (PUUs) are hit at high speed by micro-particles made of silica, the target displays hyper elastic behavior. That is, they become extremely stiff when deformed at strain rates on the order of 108/sec, which means the target material deforms to half its original thickness in an extremely short time (one second divided by hundred millions). PUUs also quickly return to their original shape after the impact.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These materials could probably also be used in body armor.

Will These Wars Ever End?

U.S. Army 1st Lt. David T. Broyles watches as his men leave Observation Post Rocky with Afghan National Army Soldiers in Kunar province, Afghanistan, July 19, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Gary A. Witte

Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: Why Do These Wars Never End?

Weaker enemies, by design, do not threaten stronger powers existentially; ‘proportionality’ means stalemate.

From the Punic Wars (264–146 b.c.) and the Hundred Years War (1337–1453) to the Arab–Israeli wars (1947–) and the so-called War on Terror (2001–), some wars never seem to end.

The dilemma is raised frequently given America’s long wars (Vietnam 1955–75) that either ended badly (Iraq 2003–11) or in some ways never quite ended at all (Korea 1950–53 and 2017–?; Afghanistan 2001–).

So what prevents strategic resolution? Among many reasons, two throughout history stand out.

Read more ....

WNU Editor:  Bottom line ... it looks like the U.S. will be engaged in fighting wars for a very long time.

Should The U.S. Scrap Its ICBM Arsenal?

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Air Force missile maintenance team removes the upper section of an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead in an undated USAF photo at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, U.S.. U.S. Air Force/Airman John Parie/Handout via REUTERS

Scot J. Paltrow, Reuters: Special Report - Nuclear strategists call for bold move: scrap ICBM arsenal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Imagine it is 3 a.m., and the president of the United States is asleep in the White House master bedroom. A military officer stationed in an office nearby retrieves an aluminum suitcase - the “football” containing the launch codes for the U.S. nuclear arsenal - and rushes to wake the commander in chief.

Early warning systems show that Russia has just launched 100 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at the United States, the officer informs the president. The nuclear weapons will reach U.S. targets in 30 minutes or less.

Bruce Blair, a Princeton specialist on nuclear disarmament who once served as an ICBM launch control officer, says the president would have at most 10 minutes to decide whether to fire America’s own land-based ICBMs at Russia.

“It is a case of use or lose them,” Blair says.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: One of the better arguments that I have read on why the U.S. should abandon it's ICBM arsenal. I know planners and strategists have always viewed fixed ICBM sites as an essential component in America's nuclear triad .... it is also the main reason why a U.S. President has a 10 minute window to decide on whether to launch a counter-strike .... the reason being "use-it or lose-it". So why keep this leg of the triad .... with all of these risks? I am still waiting for a good answer. On a side note .... a possible solution/alternative to having fixed ICBM sites is to maybe do what both Russia and China have done in the past few years. Focus more on land-based systems that are mobile and easy to hide .... rather than fixed sites.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 22, 2017

Stephen Chan, CNN: Those coming after Robert Mugabe are not good men

(CNN)The resignation of Robert Mugabe, after the intervention of the army and then the move to impeach him, ends his 37 years in power -- which included his physical and intellectual degeneration over the last decade.

Even his own party saw he had lost the capacity to function as a modern president in perilous economic times. Accordingly, the impeachment motion in Parliament was put forward by his own party, and seconded by the opposition.

But those coming after Mugabe are not good, clean men. Some have real blood on their hands. The need for reinvention will include their own transformation into Western-friendly pragmatists. The era of ideology is over, and the rhetoric of nationalism will need to be replaced by the hard work of rebuilding.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 22, 2017

Mnangagwa: More of the same for suffering Zimbabwe? -- AFP

History suggests Zimbabwe’s military coup will turn violent -- Rut Diamint, Salon

Zimbabwe's Emmerson Mnangagwa returns — What's next? -- Chloe Lyneham, DW

After Mugabe, African leaders wonder what next -- Katharine Houreld, Reuters

How Saudi Arabia has overreached on Iran, Lebanon -- Mohamad Bazzi, Reuters

US must prepare for Iran’s next move in Syria -- Josh Rogin, Gulf Times

Newly Declassified Documents Prove America's North Korea Strategy Has Failed -- Daniel DePetris, RCD

North Korea crisis: This is the diplomatic solution that needs to be on the table -- Michael Fuchs, USA Today

Dealing With North Korea -- Paul Cook, RCD

Trump's Coming Hard Line on China -- Ely Ratner, The Interpreter

Vietnam and the Philippines – America’s Trump Cards? -- Thomas Bodine & Karl Friedhoff

Islamic State’s new frontline in the Philippines -- Bong S Sarmiento, Asia Times

Germany Wins, Merkel Loses -- Ullrich Fichtner, Speigel Online

Ratko Mladić will die in jail. But go to Bosnia: you’ll see that he won -- Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian

Google Is Filtering News for the Wrong Reason -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- November 22, 2017 (Evening Edition)

Sochi November 22, 2017. © Michael Klimentyev / Sputnik

Reuters: Putin wins backing from Iran, Turkey for new Syria peace push

SOCHI, Russia/RIYADH (Reuters) - Russia’s Vladimir Putin won the backing of Turkey and Iran on Wednesday to host a Syrian peace congress, taking the central role in a major diplomatic push to finally end a civil war all but won by Moscow’s ally, President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian opposition groups, meeting in Saudi Arabia to seek a unified position ahead of peace talks, decided to stick to their demand that Assad leave power, Al Arabiya television reported, following speculation they might soften their stance after their hardline leader quit.

Two days after being visited by Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, President Putin hosted his counterparts Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani there.

Read more ....


Damascus endorses Russian-backed Syria peace summit.

Syria: Putin, Erdogan, Rouhani hold talks as opposition gathers in Saudi Arabia.

Syria opposition meets in Riyadh under pressure to compromise.

Large-scale combat actions against terrorists in Syria nearing end — Putin -- TASS.

Besieged Syrians eating trash, fainting from hunger: U.N. survey.

Iraq attacks at lowest since IS 'caliphate' declared: study.

Yazidi mass grave found in Iraq's Sinjar.

Yemen blockade leaves humanitarian staffers stranded.

Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri puts resignation on hold. Saad Hariri's homecoming in Lebanon brings meager relief.

Israeli man's photos in holy Muslim site cause social media rage.

Palestinian factions agree to hold general election by end-2018.


North Korea threatens to make Japan and U.S. bases ‘disappear.

North Korea defection: Video shows soldier make daring border escape.

North Korea says US terror sponsor label a 'serious provocation'.

China denounces new U.S. sanctions on North Korea.

South Korea, China to hold summit next month to mend ties.

Rohingya crisis: US calls Myanmar action 'ethnic cleansing'. U.S. denounces violence against Rohingya as 'ethnic cleansing'.

Philippines' Duterte cancels communist peace talks.

Islamic schools in Pakistan plagued by sex abuse of children.


Western Sahara UN envoy says 'encouraged' after first meetings.

France tells Libya to act over migrant "crimes against humanity".

"The people have spoken," says Zimbabwe's new leader.

Zimbabwe’s incoming leader Mnangagwa returns home to cheers. Zimbabwe crisis: Emmerson Mnangagwa returns to Harare to replace Mugabe. Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa returns as Mugabe's likely successor. Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa to be sworn in as president on Friday.

Somalia says it requested U.S. air strike that killed 100 militants.

At least 30 killed in farmer-herder violence in Nigeria: police.

Migrants sold into slavery in Libya tell of 'total hell'.

South Africa's Ramaphosa leads in nominations for ANC leader: poll.

E.Guinea court confirms ruling party's landslide election win.

Uganda police say raid newspaper, detain staff over article about president.


Armed standoff among leaders of Ukraine’s breakaway region as Kremlin keeps close eye.

Ukraine rebel leader says situation in Luhansk is attempted coup.

German Social Democrats face pressure over coalition talks. Pressure grows on SPD to reconsider coalition talks with Angela Merkel.

German coalition talks: Merkel seeks to break stalemate. German Social Democrats under pressure in coalition impasse.

Gibraltar heading for​ abrupt exit from single market, says Spain.

Ratko Mladic found guilty at Bosnian war crimes trial. Ratko Mladic jailed for life over Bosnia war genocide.

Russian upper house approves bill targeting foreign media.

Le Pen decries 'fatwa' on National Front bank accounts. HSBC closes Marine Le Pen bank account.

Italy's Silvio Berlusconi appeals public office ban in Strasbourg.

Poland says it's complying with EU warning to stop logging or face fines.


Cuba expresses N. Korea support, calls for US 'dialogue'.

Five U.S. citizens among Citgo executives detained in Venezuela: source.

Search for missing Argentinian submarine enters critical phase. Hope dwindles for families of lost Argentina submarine crew.

After holiday break, shutdown threat looms for Congress. Congress speeds toward shutdown over Dreamers.

Iranian charged in HBO hack as US Congress weighs nuclear pact.

Venezuela arrests top Citgo executives.

Mexico’s program to protect journalists struggles to work.

Mexican leftist Lopez Obrador leads presidential race polls.

Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’.


US general's Guantanamo contempt conviction upheld.

US strikes al-Qaida in Yemen.

Pakistani court orders release of alleged mastermind of Mumbai attacks.

Terrorism on the rise in Germany, prompting police to clamp down on extremists.


Wall St. flat ahead of holiday; ISPs rise on net neutrality bets.

Fed policymakers say rate increase likely warranted soon: minutes.

Saudis push for nine-month extension of OPEC-led oil cut - sources.

Uber boss says a data breach exposed 57m users' data and the company didn't tell anyone.

U.S. Christmas tree shortage may drive up prices.