• Obama, world leaders urge action on nuclear security, terror

    02/Apr/2016 // 178 Viewers

     

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- World leaders declared progress in safeguarding nuclear materials sought by terrorists and wayward nations, even as President Barack Obama acknowledged the task was far from finished.

    Closing out a nuclear security summit on Friday, Obama warned of a persistent and harrowing threat: terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear bomb. He urged fellow leaders not to be complacent about the risk of catastrophe, saying that such an attack by the Islamic State or a similar group would "change our world."

    "I'm the first to acknowledge the great deal of work that remains," Obama said, adding that the vision of disarmament he laid out at the start of his presidency may not be realized during his lifetime. "But we've begun."

    Despite their calls for further action, the roughly 50 leaders assembled announced that this year's gathering would be the last of this kind. This year, deep concerns about terrorism were the commanding focus, as leaders grappled with the notion that the next Paris or Brussels could involve an attack with a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb.

    Obama said of the terrorists, "There is no doubt that if these madmen ever got their hands on a nuclear bomb or nuclear material they most certainly would use it to kill as many innocent people as possible."

    So far, no terrorists have obtained a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb, Obama said, crediting global efforts to secure nuclear material. But he said it wasn't for lack of the terrorists trying: Al-Qaida has sought nuclear materials, IS has deployed chemical weapons and extremists linked to the Brussels and Paris attacks were found to have spied on a top Belgian nuclear official.

    Throughout the two-day summit, growing fears about nuclear terrorism tempered other, more positive signs of the world coming together to confront the broader nuclear threat.

    The U.N. Security Council members who brokered a sweeping nuclear deal with Iran held up that agreement as a model for preventing nuclear proliferation, as they gathered on the summit's sidelines to review implementation of the deal.

    Obama also spent part of the summit huddling with the leaders of South Korea and Japan about deterring nuclear-tinged provocations from North Korea, in a powerful show of diplomatic unity with two U.S. treaty allies. Similarly, Obama's sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the two strategic rivals a chance to illustrate mutual concern about the North, a traditional Chinese ally.

    Undeterred, North Korea only hours later fired a short-range missile into the sea and tried to jam GPS navigation signals in South Korea — precisely the kind of act that South Korean President Park Geun-hye had warned would trigger even tougher sanctions and more isolation.

    Aiming to show concrete action, leaders came to the nuclear summit with commitments in hand, known in diplomatic-speak as "gift baskets."

    Latin America and the Caribbean are now free of highly enriched uranium, the White House said, praising Argentina by name for converting its remaining stockpile into a less dangerous form. Fissile materials like highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium are necessary ingredients to make nuclear bombs.

    The United States, in newly declassified statistics, said its own national inventory of highly enriched uranium has dropped from 741 metric tons two decades ago to 586 metric tons as of 2013. And the U.S. and Japan announced they'd finished removing hundreds of kilograms of weapons-grade material from a Japanese research reactor, and pledged to do the same at another.

    On the global front, a strengthened nuclear security agreement was finally poised to take force, extending safeguards for nuclear materials being used, stored and transported while requiring criminal penalties for nuclear smuggling. Those tweaks were approved in 2005, but have sat dormant awaiting ratification from a critical mass of nations, reached only in the past few days.

    Still, frustration over the slow pace of reducing nuclear stockpiles shadowed the summit. The absence of key players — especially Russia — further underscored the lack of unanimity confronting global efforts to deter nuclear attacks.

    After six years of prodding by Obama and others before him, the global stockpile of fissile material remains in the thousands of metric tons. What's more, security officials warn that the ingredients for a "dirty bomb," such as cesium and cobalt, are alarmingly insecure in many parts of the globe.

    Ahead of the summit, fewer than half of the countries participating had agreed to secure their sources of radioactive substances, which are widely present in hospital, industrial and academic settings. Obama said as the Islamic State is squeezed in Syria and Iraq, the world must anticipate it will lash out elsewhere, citing recent attacks in Belgium and Turkey as examples.

    Obama has held four such summits in hopes of advancing the disarmament goals he set at the start of his presidency, when he declared in Prague that nuclear weapons were "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War."

    "This summit is not the end of our quest to make the world safe from nuclear terrorism," Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said. He said the assembled leaders were passing the baton to international organizations. "Should the need arise, I know that everybody here will be ready to return."


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  • Trump says there's no going back on rigging US presidential election, calls Clinton 'The Devil'

    02/Aug/2016 // 1839 Viewers

     

    Donald Trump says November’s US presidential election “is going to be rigged,” making the claim twice on Monday. The property tycoon also called his rival Hillary Clinton “the Devil,” adding that the system was also rigged against Bernie Sanders.

    The Republican presidential candidate first spoke at a town hall event in Columbus, Ohio, where he said that election on November 8 might be “rigged.”

    “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” the Republican nominee told the crowd, as cited by AP. He added that he has been hearing “more and more” that the election may not be contested fairly, though he did not give any further details.

    ''He reiterated his claims using even stronger language during an interview with Fox News on Monday evening, in which he told Sean Hannity “the election is going to be rigged,” while also calling on Republicans to watch proceedings “very closely.”

    “I hope the Republicans get out there and watch very closely, because I think we are going to win this election… I tell you November 8, we better be careful because that election is going to be rigged and I hope the Republicans are watching closely because it is going to be taken away from us,” he said.

    Trump took a swipe against certain members of the Republican establishment, saying that despite the primary campaign against him being slightly rigged, he still managed to win “in landslides.” He also claimed that Sanders, who was defeated by Clinton in the Democratic race, also faced an unfair battle as the establishment was against him.

    “I think it was rigged against Bernie Sanders with his superdelegates nonsense,” Trump said.

    This is not the first time that Trump has accused the system of being rigged against Sanders.

    During his speech in Ohio, Trump said Sanders had “made a deal with the Devil” in reference to Clinton, adding that “she is the Devil” after the Vermont senator agreed to back the Democrat nominee.

     


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  • Horror In Adamawa! Read how 20 people and entire village were killed, burnt down in a 3-day attack without police intervention!

    02/Aug/2016 // 2816 Viewers

     

    A source and resident of Kodumon village of Demsa Local Government Area of Adamawa State has said not less than 20 people died from Friday till Tuesday morning as a result of suspected Fulani herdsmen attacks.

    The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attack began on Friday and had lasted till press time on Tuesday morning.
    He said: “From Friday evening till this morning, we were attacked consistently by Fulani Herdsmen.

    “The entire village has been overrun and burnt down.
    “On Friday, eight men were hacked to death on their farms.
    “On Saturday and Sunday, more were ambushed and killed when they went to pick up the corpses of their dead relatives.

    “This morning, while they were burying an old grandma, the Fulani killer herdsmen attacked them again at the graveyard, shooting and killing them.

    “As they ran back into the village, they noticed that the entire village had been surrounded and was under siege.

    “Virtually every house has been burnt down, except the ones that belong to the few Fulanis among them.
     
    “My relatives and political allies have been gunned down and nobody can pick their corpses for decent burials.

    “The Army came with about 10 Hilux vehicles and backed by a helicopter.
    “Around 3pm, they all vacated the burnt village and would not even give hope to other nearby villages like Kulliro, Murgarang, Kudiri, Bwashi, Old Demsa or even Demsa, the Local Government headquarters.

    “People in those villages have presently escaped to Demsa and can be seen standing or walking in fear along Numan-Yola Road.
    “People living in Demsa can be seen dressed in readiness to move to Numan.

    “The situation is pathetic as it is annoying, especially with both the police and military abandoning the people to their fate.
    “Corpses are right now unattended to all over Kodomun because no one dares pick them up.

    “Many have been taken to hospitals with bullets embedded in their bodies.”

    As at the time of filing this report, efforts made to reach the police were futile.


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  • ISIS: US deploys 100 commandos to Iraq

    02/Dec/2015 // 160 Viewers


    The united States has deployed no fewer than 100 combatant troops to Iraq in the ongoing military campaign against ISIS on the Iraqi/Syrian border.

    Also in the report the US defence Secretary said additional forces would also be deployed in due course to join the fight against the jihadists in that country.


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  • Fear grips N'Korea, Iran, other Arab states as TRUMP names Gen. JAMES MAD DOG MATTIS as Defence Secretary

    02/Dec/2016 // 1213 Viewers

     

    US President-elect Donald Trump has named Gen James Mattis, a former marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as his defence secretary.“He’s our best,” Mr Trump said, as he announced his pick in a speech in Ohio.

    Gen Mattis, who is known as “Mad Dog”, was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, particularly on Iran.

    He has referred to Iran as “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East”.

    Mr Trump made the announcement in Cincinnati at the start of a “USA Thank You Tour 2016” for his supporters.

    “We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defence,” he told the crowd.

    “They say he’s the closest thing to General George Patton [World War Two commander] that we have.”

    This was billed as the first stop on President-elect Donald Trump’s “thank you” tour of states he flipped from Democrat to Republican in the 2016 election.

    It ended up being more like an extended end zone dance, an “in your face” primal scream at all his critics and naysayers.

    He took swipes at Hillary Clinton, to a chorus of “lock her up” chants from the crowd. He bemoaned the lack of support he received from his own party. And, as always, he fired invective at the media, as the boos rained down on the reporters typing away in their cordoned-off pen.

    The one bit of news he did reveal – that he had picked retired General James Mattis to be defence secretary – was seemingly impromptu. “Don’t let it out of this room, promise,” he said, to cheers.

    It was Campaign Trump in top form. He clearly had a script – unveiling his “action plan” for his presidency – but he enthusiastically deviated from it, much to the crowd’s delight.

    “Should I go on just a little bit longer?” he asked. The crowd roared.

    During his speech he said a divided America must come together, but it seems unlikely any Democrats watching felt like sharing a group hug.

    Mr Trump has previously described Gen Mattis, 66, as “a true general’s general”.

    The retired Marine Corps officer led an assault battalion during the first Gulf war in 1991 and commanded a task force into southern Afghanistan in 2001.

    He also took part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and played a key role a year later in the battle of Fallujah against Iraqi insurgents.

    Gen Mattis retired in 2013 after serving as the commander of the US Central Command.

    Correspondents say his nomination will be popular among US forces.

    He also received the backing of Senator John McCain, chairman of the armed services committee, who will conduct his confirmation hearing.

    “He is without a doubt one of the finest military officers of his generation and an extraordinary leader who inspires a rare and special admiration of his troops,” Senator McCain said in a statement.

    “America will be fortunate to have General Mattis in its service once again.”

    However, a legal hurdle must be overcome before he can be appointed.

    Under US law, a retired officer must be out of uniform for at least seven years before he or she can serve as defence secretary.

    Republican-controlled Congress will have to approve legislation bypassing the requirement so he can take up the role.


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  • Breaking! US Military Develops 'Multi-Object Kill Vehicle' to Blast Enemy Nukes

    02/Dec/2016 // 296 Viewers

     

    Defensive weapons that can intercept and destroy enemy missiles before they can harm the United States or its allies have been a key part of military strategy for decades, but the rules of the game are changing.
     
    More countries have or are developing long-range missile technology, including systems that can carry multiple warheads, known as Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) and/or decoys.
     
    "Both China and Russia possess the MIRV capability for their ballistic missiles. In 2014, reports confirmed that Iran too had developed Multiple Re-entry Vehicles (MRVs) for their ballistic missiles. Cold War literature suggests that MIRVs are first strike weapons and could be strategically destabilizing," independent consultant Debalina Ghoshal wrote in a June 2016 report for the Federation of American Scientists.
     
    The United States realizes these threats and is working towards a robust missile defense system," she said.
     
    Last year, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency awarded contracts to Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing to begin designing what is known as a "Multi-Object Kill Vehicle" or MOKV, which could destroy several objects in space with a single launch.
     
    "Ten years ago, we had a single kill vehicle on a single interceptor. Kill vehicles today are the size of a toaster … This MOKV program is the latest iteration," John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, told Seeker.
     
    Raytheon's plan, which is scheduled for a concept review in December, is to load multiple MOKVs onto a single missile for launch. Each MOKV would be outfitted with sensors, a steering and propulsion system and communications equipment that will allow them to zero in on an individual target and hit it, destroying the object by sheer kinetic forces.
     
    The impacts would take place beyond Earth's atmosphere, but on a trajectory that would send the resulting cloud of debris back into the atmosphere, where it burn up, Pike said.
     
    A major technological challenge is figuring out how to differentiate between bombs and decoys, such as balloons that look like they might have a hydrogen bomb aboard.
     
    The military hopes to begin proof-of-concept demonstrations late next year and a non-intercept flight test in 2018. If successful, the Missile Defense Agency would conduct an intercept test in 2019.
     
    Originally published on Seeker.


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  • How we captured and killed Osama Bin Laden - CIA reveals in live-tweeting raid

    02/May/2016 // 1402 Viewers

     

    The CIA marked the fifth anniversary of the daring raid that killed Osama bin Laden by revealing some little-known details about the operation — in real-time on Twitter.

    Over a series of tweets posted to its verified Twitter feed Sunday, the agency gave its 1.3 million Twitter followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how the mission unfolded.

    The timing of the posts more or less matched the CIA's official timeline of the assault on the al-Qaida leader's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

    "To mark the 5th anniversary," the CIA explained, "we will tweet the raid as if it were happening today."

    1:25 pm EDT-, DCIA Panetta, & JSOC commander Admiral McRaven approve execution of op in Abbottabad.

     

    Features
    High walls/barbed wire
    Double entry gates
    No internet/phone connection
    Trash burned not collected #UBL Raid



    1:25 pm EDT-, DCIA Panetta, & JSOC commander Admiral McRaven approve execution of op in Abbottabad.

    1:25 pm EDT-@POTUS, DCIA Panetta, & JSOC commander Admiral McRaven approve execution of op in Abbottabad.


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  • Obama: Russia action in Syria is 'recipe for disaster

    02/Oct/2015 // 201 Viewers

    © AFP | US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the White House on October 2, 2015, in Washington, DC

     

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

    US President Barack Obama warned Friday that Russia's military engagement in Syria in support of strongman Bashar al-Assad is a "recipe for disaster," though Washington could still work with Moscow on reducing tensions.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin "doesn't distinguish between ISIL and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr Assad go," Obama told reporters, referring to the self-proclaimed Islamic State group.

    "From their perspective, they're all terrorists. And that's a recipe for disaster."

    Russia carried out a third day of air strikes in Syria, saying it targeted Islamic State jihadists, as Putin faced increased international criticism over his military campaign.

    The West has raised concerns that Russian forces were also striking at rebel groups opposed to Assad, in a bid to bolster its ally.

    Obama accused Moscow of "propping up a regime that is rejected by an overwhelming majority of the Syrian population."

    He also said the United States would "continue to support" moderate rebels in Syria because they are groups that "can help pick up the pieces and stitch together a cohesive, coherent country" in the aftermath of Assad's rule.

    Obama signaled he was willing to engage with Putin, particularly if Moscow "works instead to bring about a political settlement" instead of doubling down on its military support to Assad.

    "I said to Mr Putin that I'd be prepared to work with him if he is willing to broker with his partners, Mr Assad and Iran, a political transition," Obama said.

    "We can bring the rest of the world community to a brokered solution, but that a military solution alone -- an attempt by Russia and Iran to prop up Assad and try to pacify the population -- is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire."


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  • JUST IN: US drones to bomb northern Nigeria

    02/Oct/2016 // 1989 Viewers

     

    There are strong indications that the United States government may launch attacks against Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East, as a drone base being constructed in the Niger Republic would soon be completed.

    According to reports, the American drone base is under construction in Agadez, a town in Niger.

    The facility is expected to offer US military, greater ability to use drones against Islamist extremists in countries like Libya, Mali and Nigeria.

    But some security experts revealed that such drone attacks against insurgents in the North might kill innocent people.

    The project, considered to be the United State’s most important military construction effort in Africa, according to secret files obtained by an online medium, The Intercept, will gulp $100m.

    The construction of the base is an indication that the US is paying more attention to terrorist groups in Nigeria and other countries on the African continent.

    “As the only country in the region willing to allow a US base for MQ-9 Reapers — a newer, larger, and potentially more lethal model than the venerable Predator drone — Niger has positioned itself to be the key regional hub for US military operations, with Agadez serving as the premier outpost for launching intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions against a plethora of terror groups,” The Intercept said.

    The Americans have for years operated an air base in Niamey, Niger’s capital, but in September 2014 the US African Command announced plans to build a drone facility for “Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.”

    The documents obtained by The Intercept and made available online stated, “The top MILCON [military construction] project for USAFRICOM is located in Agadez, Niger to construct a C-17 and MQ-9 capable airfield.

    “Remotely Piloted Aircraft presence in Africa supports operations against seven (Department of State)-designated foreign terrorist organisations.

    “Moving operations to Agadez aligns persistent ISR to current and emerging threats over Niger and Chad, supports French regionalisation and extends range to cover Libya and Nigeria.”

    Reacting to the development, a member of the American Society of Industrial Security, Prof. Femi Adegbulu, told SUNDAY PUNCH that there was a possibility of collateral damage, should the US launch drone attacks against Boko Haram in the North.

    He said, “There are two sets of drones, one for surveillance and the other for attacks. A reconnaissance drone is used for intelligence gathering, while the other kind of drone is used for attacks. There is no 100 per cent accuracy in warfare.

    “You lose lives, money, time, and resources. The possibility of collateral damage cannot be ruled out, especially since Boko Haram terrorists are known to use humans as shields when attacked.”

    Similarly, a former Director, Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, told one of our correspondents that he was concerned about the US military’s plan to launch attacks against Boko Haram from Niger.

    “I am worried that the US military will be making such efforts to launch attacks against Boko Haram from outside Nigeria. If the US did not get the nod from the Federal Government to establish its drone base in the country, how could the US military launch attacks against Boko Haram from Niger Republic?”

    When the spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Charles Nwodo, was contacted at 3pm, he asked one of our correspondents to give him till 6pm to respond to the story.

    However, when he was called again at 6pm, he did not pick the calls placed to his telephone line. Also, Nwodo had yet responded to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

    Army releases 348 suspected Boko Haram detainees

    Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army on Saturday freed 348 suspected Boko Haram members as a gesture to celebrate the country’s 56th Independence anniversary.

    The detainees included 114 male, 107 female and 127 children.

    They were handed over to the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, at the Ramat Square, Maiduguri by the acting General Officer Commanding, the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Victor Ezegwu.

    Ezegwu explained that the suspects were arrested at various camps and havens of the insurgents in Borno State.

    He said they were investigated and found to be innocent of involvement in insurgency.

    He also said 115 out of the 127 children among the suspected insurgents were between the ages of five and 10, while 12 of them were 11 years and above.

    He however, said some suspects, including six foreigners who illegally entered Nigeria, would be prosecuted.

    He added that the suspected insurgents had been handed over to the Police and the Department of State Services.

    He said the foreigners comprised of four Cameroonians, a Chadian and a Jamaican, who would be separately handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for deportation.


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  • Breaking News: SpaceX Explosion Destroys Satellite, Sets Back Facebook's Internet Push in Africa

    02/Sep/2016 // 274 Viewers

     

    An explosion occurred during a SpaceX fueling operation at its launch site in Florida around 9:07 a.m. Eastern today, destroying a satellite that Facebook intended to use to provide internet connectivity to rural Africa, SpaceX officials and local authorities said.

    SpaceX was conducting a fueling test on Launch Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral when the incident took place, an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center told ABC News.

    The explosion happened "in preparation for today's static fire," and resulted in "the loss of the vehicle and its payload," SpaceX said in a statement.

    The explosion was felt around the facility, and a mushroom cloud could be seen over the launch site, the engineer told ABC News.

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the loss of the Falcon rocket today, "Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon."

    Video from the scene showed smoldering infrastructure.

    No Reported Injuries

    There were no injuries as a result of the explosion, the Brevard County Emergency Management Office told ABC News. The office tweeted, "There is NO threat to general public from catastrophic abort during static test fire at SpaceX launch pad at [Cape Canaveral] this morning."

    Brian Purtell, a spokesman for the Air Force's 45th Space Wing, which controls Cape Canaveral's space operations, said that personnel were being evacuated from the facility.

    "Once we determine everybody is out of there, then we can go in when it's safe to kind of determine what happened," he said, noting that SpaceX had a scheduled launch for early Saturday morning.

    NASA released a statement Thursday evening expressing confidence in the private space company with which it contracts, saying, "we remain confident in our commercial partners," but warning that "it's too early to know whether the incident will affect the schedule for upcoming NASA-related SpaceX launches to the International Space Station."

    Destroyed Payload

    The rocket that was destroyed was carrying the AMOS-6 communications satellite, a spokesman for SpaceX told ABC News, adding that the mission was commercial and not for NASA.

    SpaceX announced in January 2013 a deal with Space Communications Ltd. (Spacecom) to launch AMOS-6 into geosynchronous orbit sometime in 2015, which would "provide communication services, including direct satellite home internet for Africa, the Middle East and Europe," and was built by Israel Aerospace Industries.

    As part of its activities in space, the AMOS-6 was going to "provide internet coverage to large parts of sub-Saharan Africa" as part of Facebook's Internet.org initiatives to increase internet connectivity around the world, according to a posting on the social network by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

    Zuckerberg, who coincidentally is travelling in Kenya today, posted on Facebook: "I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent."

    "We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided," he said.

    In an email, a spokesman for Spacecom acknowledged the SpaceX statement, but did not add further details.

    Israel Aerospace Industries said that it was, "disappointed about this incident," and was ready to provide assistance. The manufacturer said that the satellite was "the largest and most advanced communications satellite ever built in Israel."

     


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