Trump orders US to pull troops from Somalia | US military | The Guardian

The US will pull out nearly all its estimated 700 troops in Somalia over the next few months, the latest in a series of short-notice withdrawals ordered by Donald Trump in his last few weeks in power.

Pentagon statement on Friday said that some of the troops would be repositioned in neighbouring countries while others – it did not say how many – would leave the region altogether.

“The US is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa. We remain committed to our African partners and enduring support through a whole-of-government approach,” the statement said. “While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in US policy. We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition.”

Nearly all of 700 troops will leave over next few months follow president’s latest order with short notice

Source: Trump orders US to pull troops from Somalia | US military | The Guardian

Afghan officials say 34 killed in separate suicide bombings

GHAZNI, Afghanistan (AP) — At least 34 people were killed on Sunday in two separate suicide bombings in Afghanistan that targeted a military base and a provincial chief, officials said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks, which took place as Afghan government representatives and the Taliban hold face-to-face talks in Qatar for the first time to end the country’s decades-long war.

In eastern Ghazni province, 31 soldiers were killed and 24 others wounded when the attacker drove a military humvee full of explosives onto an army commando base before detonating the car bomb, according to an official in Afghanistan’s National Security Council, who spoke anonymously because he was not permitted to speak directly to the media.

Ghazni’s provincial health department chief, Zahir Shah Nikmal, also confirmed the death toll and casualty figures from the attack.

Source: Afghan officials say 34 killed in separate suicide bombings

US Navy Denies Carrier Group Moved into Gulf after Any ‘threats’ | Newsmax.com

Tensions in the region are extraordinarily high after the assassination Friday of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an act still unclaimed but which Iran has blamed on close US ally Israel.

But naval commander Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the US 5th Fleet, told AFP the return Wednesday of the carrier group led by the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz was unconnected to any “specific threats.”

“There were no specific threats that triggered the return of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group,” she said in a statement.

“The return of Nimitz is centered on maintaining CENTCOM’s ability to remain postured and prepared to help preserve regional stability and security,” Rebarich said, referring to the US Central Command.

Source: US Navy Denies Carrier Group Moved into Gulf after Any ‘threats’ | Newsmax.com

Military plane dumps fuel over Westmoreland County en route to emergency stop at Pittsburgh airport | TribLIVE.com

A Pennsylvania Air National Guard refueling plane forced to make an emergency return to Pittsburgh International Airport on Saturday morning dumped fuel over the Jeannette-Penn Township-North Huntingdon and Manor areas, according to the Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety and state Air National Guard.

The KC-135 Stratosphere was forced to turn around shortly after takeoff at 6:40 a.m. from Pittsburgh International Airport, said Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Monk, a spokesman for the National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing. The plane landed safely at the airport, Monk said.

The refueling plane, which Monk described as “basically a flying gas station,” had to dump the fuel to safely land. The nature of the emergency is under investigation, Monk said.

The Air National Guard is investigating the incident, Monk said. The Federal Aviation Administration also is involved in the probe, according to the county public safety department.

A kerosene-type odor was reported by residents reported to the county’s emergency dispatching center about 8 a.m., which prompted the emergency center to dispatch fire departments in those communities, the public safety department said.

Source: Military plane dumps fuel over Westmoreland County en route to emergency stop at Pittsburgh airport | TribLIVE.com

US Army identifies 5 Americans killed in helicopter crash in Egypt | Fox News

The U.S. Army announced Saturday the deaths of five soldiers who were part of peacekeeping operations with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission.

The deceased are:

–Capt. Seth Vernon Vandekamp, 31, from Katy, Texas.

–Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dallas Gearld Garza, 34, from Fayetteville, N.C.

–Staff Sgt. Kyle Robert McKee, 35, from Painesville, Ohio

–Sgt. Jeremy Cain Sherman, 23, from Watseka, Ill.

One American remains hospitalized in very serious condition.

Source: US Army identifies 5 Americans killed in helicopter crash in Egypt | Fox News

Syria war: ‘Russian air strikes kill dozens’ in Idlib – BBC News

Russian air strikes in northern Syria have killed more than 50 Turkish-backed militia fighters in the mainly rebel-held province of Idlib, reports say.

Many others were wounded in the attack, which marks an escalation of violence in the region.

A training base for an Islamist group called Faylaq al-Sham was hit.

The assault puts at risk a ceasefire in Idlib, brokered and monitored by Russia and Turkey, which back opposite sides in the war.

UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number of dead at 78.

Some of the wounded were in a serious condition, and the death toll was likely to rise, the Observatory added.

It described the attack – in the Harem region north-west of Idlib city – as the deadliest since the ceasefire came into force in March.

The truce brought to a halt a Syrian government offensive on the region which had displaced almost a million people, and has largely held since then.

When the ceasefire was announced, Turkey said it reserved the right to “retaliate with all its strength” against any attack by forces allied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Idlib is the last province held by rebels and jihadists, who have been beaten back in a nine-year-long civil war.

Source: Syria war: ‘Russian air strikes kill dozens’ in Idlib – BBC News

Crew killed in US Navy aircraft crash in Alabama – CNN

CNN)The crew of a Navy T-6B Texan II was killed Friday when the two-seat airplane crashed in a small town near Mobile, Alabama, according to the Navy.

The turboprop aircraft crashed in Foley, which is about 30 miles by air from Mobile, at about 5 p.m. CT, said Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a public affairs officer with Naval Air Forces.
Harrell said the names of the deceased would be released after relatives have been notified. The plane is typically occupied by a student pilot and an instructor.
“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn two of our pilots who lost their lives during an aircraft crash in Alabama today,” the Chief of Naval Air Training said in a Twitter post. “Our deepest sympathy goes to their family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Shipmates. We have the watch.”

Source: Crew killed in US Navy aircraft crash in Alabama – CNN

National Guard at Westmoreland Co. nursing home to help with COVID-19 outbreak

GREENSBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania National Guard arrived at a Westmoreland County nursing home Sunday morning to help control an outbreak of COVID-19.

There are 47 confirmed cases among patients at Westmoreland Manor, and 22 staff members have also tested positive.

The guard will take over COVID-19 testing so the employees who aren’t quarantined can get back to caring for patient

Source: National Guard at Westmoreland Co. nursing home to help with COVID-19 outbreak

Gunfire exchanged across border in DMZ between North and South Korea – CNN

North Korea fired gunshots at the wall of a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a buffer area which separates the two countries, on Sunday,

The South Korean military responded by broadcasting a verbal warning and returning fire twice, according to protocol outlined in the response manual and on the judgment of the field commander, according to the JCS statement.
The South Korean military said that “the military is in the process of identifying situations over the military communication line with the North and preventing any additional situations from occurring.”
Under the military accord signed between the two Koreas on September 29, 2018, the South and North each demolished 11 guard posts along the DMZ, but dozens of guard posts remain.
There have been exchanges of fire between the Koreas in the past, including in 2017, when a North Korean solider defected at the JSA (Joint Security Area) and, in 2014, when a North Korean defector organization launched balloons of leaflets criticizing the country’s reclusive regime.
It is not known what caused this exchange of fire.

Source: Gunfire exchanged across border in DMZ between North and South Korea – CNN

Taliban rejects calls for Ramadan truce in Afghanistan – BBC News

A traditional council, or loya jirga, made the proposal as it meets to discuss peace in Kabul.

The grand assembly is meeting in Kabul this week to discuss peace and called for an immediate ceasefire between the government and militants.

President Ashraf Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”.

But the Taliban rejected the call and accused members of being government allies.

In 2018 the Taliban agreed a three-day ceasefire coinciding with Eid at the end of the holy month of Ramadan – their first since the 2001 US-led invasion.

Speaking at the meeting of the loya jirga – a grand tribal council attended by 3,200 religious leaders, politicians and representatives from across the country – Mr Ghani said: “Let us prove that only Western countries cannot solve this conflict. There is also human civilisation here.”

Source: Taliban rejects calls for Ramadan truce in Afghanistan – BBC News

Venezuela’s Guaido calls for military uprising while flanked by soldiers at Caracas airbase: ‘The moment is now’ | Fox News

The power struggle between embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition met its most bold action on Tuesday when Juan Guaido called for a military uprising to oust the socialist leader.

Emboldened crowds took to the streets of Caracas after the 35-year-old lawmaker and a small contingent of heavily armed soldiers appeared in an early morning video showing him promoting the “final phase” of his putsch to oust Maduro.

“The armed forces have taken the right decision,” Guaido said. “With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution, they are on the right side of history.”

He added: “The moment is now.”

Source: Venezuela’s Guaido calls for military uprising while flanked by soldiers at Caracas airbase: ‘The moment is now’ | Fox News

Warfighters Need ‘Uncompromised’ Technology, Official Says > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article

 

“We are in a very highly contested environment, with our opponents quite successfully taking our stuff,” William Stephens said at a forum on supply chain security and software at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, noting that U.S. intelligence analysts and other sources support that assessment.

Techniques adversaries use to figure out new U.S. technology before soldiers or airmen get a chance to use it vary greatly, he said, but include such things as exploitation of relationships in the technology community — such as at conferences and trade shows — as well as email and mail, surveillance, exploitation of cyber operations, exports or supply chains, and even insider access and outright theft.

Americans pay for a lot of technology to support the warfighter, Stephens said, and when that technology is compromised before the warfighter is able to use it, Americans lose out on their investment. But the biggest threat from compromised technology, he added, is to warfighters themselves.

Source: Warfighters Need ‘Uncompromised’ Technology, Official Says > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article

Russia responds to Syria airstrike, warns of ‘consequences’

Russia warned of “consequences” in the aftermath of the airstrikes launched by the United States and its allies on Syria, CNN reported Saturday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks as an “act of aggression against a sovereign state,” CNN reported. On Twitter, the Russian embassy in the United States criticized the missile strikes, with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov tweeting that “The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard.”

>> Trump announces strike on Syria

“A pre-designed scenario is being implemented,” Antonov said. “Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.”

Syria’s Foreign Ministry called the attacks a “flagrant violation of the international law,” CNN reported.

Source: Russia responds to Syria airstrike, warns of ‘consequences’

 

 

Trump touts ‘perfectly executed’ strike on Syria, declares ‘Mission Accomplished’ | Fox News

President Trump on Saturday praised an allied nation airstrike on the Assad regime in Syria, thanking France and the United Kingdom and declaring “Mission Accomplished!”

Pentagon officials said the attacks targeted the heart of Assad’s programs to develop and produce chemical weapons.

Syrian television reported that Syria’s air defenses, which are substantial, responded to the attack. Syrians poured into the streets for defiant demonstrations of their national pride.

Source: Trump touts ‘perfectly executed’ strike on Syria, declares ‘Mission Accomplished’ | Fox News

Trump orders Syria strikes: Will attacks lead to US war with Russia? | Fox News

All sides of this conflict, no matter their loyalties, must work to end the Syrian Civil War once and for all. If not, a much greater crisis could be in the offing.

After President Trump’s Friday night announcement that U.S., French and British military forces have launched missile strikes against Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities in response to that nation’s recent deadly attack on its own citizens with poison gas, the world wonders: Will the American action spark a war between the U.S. and Russia?

CIA Director Mike Pompeo pointed out Thursday that the U.S. has already killed a large number of Russians in Syria. “A handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match,” Pompeo said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on his nomination to become secretary of state. “A couple hundred Russians were killed.”

Source: Trump orders Syria strikes: Will attacks lead to US war with Russia? | Fox News

 

Trump to deploy National Guard to southern border | TheHill

President Trump will sign an order to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S. southern border, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced Wednesday.
Speaking at the White House, Nielsen framed the move as a way to toughen an immigration system that “rewards bad behavior,” including illegal drug smuggling and border crossings.
“It’s time to act,” Nielsen told reporters, adding that the deployments could begin “immediately.”
Nielsen did not share key details about the operation, including how many troops will be sent to the border, the length of the deployment or its cost.

Source: Trump to deploy National Guard to southern border | TheHill

4 Marines feared dead in helicopter crash near US-Mexico border | Fox News

 

A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crashed Tuesday — killing its four crew members — during exercises along the U.S.-Mexico border near Plaster City, Calif., military officials said.

“We are currently still responding to what we have confirmed as a single helicopter incident,” said a Facebook post from the nearby Naval Air Facility El Centro.

The naval facility sent fire and security units as well as other helicopters to the scene of the crash, KYMA-TV reported.

Source: 4 Marines feared dead in helicopter crash near US-Mexico border | Fox News

Local soldiers prepare for deployment to Iraq | WeAreCentralPA

The men and women salute in honor of their country at the Punxsutawney Community Center Wednesday morning.  The same group will soon put their lives on the line. They’re the 665 Engineer Utilities Detachment and they will be deployed to Iraq

The army reserve soldiers will be overseas for about a year, completing construction related missions.

“It is a bittersweet moment because the soldiers are going and but yet they’re going to do something that’s worthy,” says the 665th Detachment Commander, CPT John Kennelly.

Source: Local soldiers prepare for deployment to Iraq | WeAreCentralPA

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