Tuesday, March 26, 2019

TheList 4956

The List 4956     TGB


 
To All,
 
I hope that your week has started well.
 
This Day In Naval History – March 26, 2019
 
1942 During World War II, Adm. Ernest J. King becomes Chief of Naval Operations and also Commander, U.S. Fleet, holding both positions through the rest of the war, guiding the Navy's plans and global operations.
1942 Task Force 39, commanded by Rear Adm. John W. Wilcox, Jr., sails from Portland, Maine, for Scapa Flow, Orkeny Islands, Scotland, to reinforce the British Home Fleet due the British Fleets involvement in Operation Ironclad, the British invasion of the Vichy French controlled Madagascar. The following day, Rear Adm. Wilcox, while taking an unaccompanied walk on his flagship, USS Washington (BB 56), is washed overboard and disappears in the heavy seas.
1943 During the Battle of Komandorski Islands, Task Group 16.6, commanded by Rear Adm. Charles H. McMorris, prevents Japanese reinforcements from reaching Kiska, Aleutian Islands. USS Salt Lake City (CA 25) is damaged by gunfire from Japanese heavy cruisers, but damages one with return fire.
1945 USS Halligan (DD 584) is sunk by a mine off Okinawa. Also on this date, USS Balao (SS-285) sinks Japanese army stores ship No.1 Shinto Maru.
 
Thanks to CHINFO
 
Executive Summary:
In national headlines today President Trump formally recognizes Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, and the Pentagon authorizes funding to start construction of the border wall. Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Modly sat down with Hugh Hewitt to discuss the Education for Seapower initiative and the Navy's most recent shipbuilding plan. Jane's Defense Weekly reports that the U.S. 7th Fleet Forward Deployed Naval Force completed Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training while operating in the Philippine Sea. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reports that the arrival of two Russian military plans in Venezuela has drawn a rebuke from Washington
 
 
Today in History March 26
1517
The famous Flemish composer Heinrich Issac dies.
1799
1804
Congress orders the removal of Indians east of the Mississippi River to Louisiana.
1804
The territory of New Orleans is organized in the Louisiana Purchase.
1827
German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven dies in Vienna. He had been deaf for the later part of his life, but said on his death bed "I shall hear in heaven."
1832
Famed western artist George Catlin begins his voyage up the Missouri River aboard the American Fur Company steamship Yellowstone.
1885
Eastman Film Co. manufactures the first commercial motion picture film.
1913
The Balkan allies take Adrianople.
1918
On the Western Front, the Germans take the French towns Noyon, Roye and Lihons.
1938
Hermann Goering warns all Jews to leave Austria.
1942
The Germans begin sending Jews to Auschwitz in Poland.
1950
Senator Joe McCarthy names Owen Lattimore, an ex-State Department adviser, as a Soviet spy.
1951
The United States Air Force flag design is approved.
1953
Eisenhower offers increased aid to the French fighting in Indochina.
1953
Dr. Jonas Salk announces a new vaccine against polio.
1954
The United States sets off an H-bomb blast in the Marshall Islands, the second in four weeks.
1961
John F. Kennedy meets with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in Washington to discuss increased Communist involvement in Laos.
1969
The Soviet weather Satellite Meteor 1 is launched.
1969
Writer John Kennedy Toole commits suicide at the age of 32. His mother helps get his first and only novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, published. It goes on to win the 1981 Pulitzer Prize.
1979
The Camp David treaty is signed between Israel and Egypt.
1982
Ground is broken in Washington D.C. for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
1989
The first free elections take place in the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin is elected.
1992
An Indianapolis court finds heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson guilty of rape.
 
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Thanks to Al
 
Monday Morning Humor--March Madness
 
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Substitute the name of any team or college/university you prefer in any of the following jokes.
 
 
ESPN reported that Yale players' parents were trying to get their kids into the second round despite their first round loss.  They say the parents complain that they didn't pay top-dollar bribes only to lose the first game.
 
 
 
     Hanging in the trophy chest at Syracuse University, there were basketball team photos from past school teams. A player in each photo held a basketball identifying the year:  72-73, 73-74, 74-75, etc..   
     One day, a freshman was looking curiously at the photos. Turning to a professor, he said, "Isn't it weird how every team lost by just one point?"
 
 
 
      A Blue Devils fan dies on match day and goes to heaven in his blue and white jersey. He knocks on the old pearly gates and out walks St. Peter.
     "Hello" says St. Peter, "I'm sorry, no Blue Devils fans in heaven."
     "What ?" exclaims the man, astonished.
     "You heard, no Blue Devils fans."
     "But, but, but, I've been a good man", replies the Blue Devils supporter.
     "Oh really", says St. Peter. "What have you done, then?"
     "Well" said the supporter, "Three weeks before I died, I gave 100 dollars to the starving children in Africa".
     "Oh" says St.Peter. "anything else?"
     "Well, two weeks before I died I also gave 100 dollars to the homeless."
     "Hmmm. Anything else?"
     "Yeah. A week before I died I gave 100 dollars to the Syrian orphans."
     "Okay", said St. Peter, "You wait here a minute while I have a word with the Boss."
     Ten minutes pass before St. Peter returns. He looks the gent in the eye and says, "I've had a word with God and he agrees with me. Here's your $300 dollars back, now please leave". 
 
 
 
Groaners…..
 
What do you call it when Cinderella busts your bracket?
March Sadness!
 
What do UNC players and NC State players have in common?
They both have never taken a class at UNC.
 
How many VCU players does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
None, downtown Richmond looks better in the dark.
 
How many five star recruits does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one. But he gets money, a car, and three credit hours for it.
 
How many Harvard players does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
One -- to hold it in place while the world revolves around him.
 
Why do Xavier Muskeeters fans only play 14 holes of golf?
Because they can't make it to the Final Four.
 
How did St. John's get to the tournament?
They took the same DeLorean as Georgetown.
 
What's the first thing a North Dakota fan does before they fill out their NCAA Tournament bracket?
Drive 150 miles to the nearest pen store.
 
What do you get when you drive quickly through the Miami Hurricanes campus?
An undergraduate degree.
 
What do they call students who go to University of North Carolina?
Duke rejects
 
What does a basketball player do when he loses his eyesight?
Become a referee.
 
What do you call 12 well-paid recruits watching the Final Four?
The Louisville Cardinals.
 
Why can't you play the Final Four in the jungle?
Because there are too many cheetahs.
 
Why is the basketball arena hot after the game?
Because all the fans have left.
 
What do you call an Ohio State Buckeye with a NCAA Tournament championship ring?
A senior citizen.
 
What does a basketball player say when he misses?
Shoot.
 
What does an Arizona Wildcats fan do when his team has won the NCAA Tournament?
He turns off the PlayStation.
 
 
 
I hope your decisions in life have better results than your March madness bracket,
Al    
 
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Did they never look outside and see where the sun was located
 
https://static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2018/09/5761e581-british-airways.jpg
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This week in Aviation heritage from The Airpower blog
 
March 24, 1917
The First Yale Unit of 29 men enlisted in the Naval Reserve Flying Force and departed four days later to train at West Palm Beach, Florida. These volunteers became the first of several college groups to join as a unit for war service. Four of the Yale men subsequently attained distinguished positions: F. Trubee Davison became Assistant Secretary for War; Artemus L. Gates, Under Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air; David S. Ingalls, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air; and Robert A. Lovett, Secretary of Defense. On the day that he was set to earn his Navy wings, Davison lost control of the plane and crashed, splitting the plane in two. He spent six weeks in the hospital. While he never saw combat, he was active in unit activities throughout the war and was awarded the Navy Cross for his services. His three classmates went on to earn their wings. Gates was Daedalian Founder Member #11220; Ingalls, who became the only Navy flying ace of World War I, was #3603; and Lovett, #12226.
 
March 25, 1898
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt recommended to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long that he appoint two officers "of scientific attainments and practical ability" who, with representatives from the War Department, would examine Professor Samuel P. Langley's flying machine and report upon its practicability and its potential for use in war.
 
March 26, 1944
Marine Corps F4U-1 Corsairs of VMF-113 operating from the Marshall Islands escorted USAAF B-25 Mitchells on a 360-mile bombing mission against the Japanese garrison on Ponape. The Corsairs effectively destroyed the enemy interceptors and thus ensured that Allied aircraft carried out their subsequent missions over the island unmolested.
 
March 27, 1927
American airmail pilot Charles A. Lindbergh, 25 years old, registers his entry in the Raymond Orteig challenge for the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo. The challenge and a $25,000 prize had been issued in 1920, but no one had been successful in making the flight. He would make the historic solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean May 20-21, 1927.
 
March 28, 1913
Lieutenants Thomas DeWitt Milling and William C. Sherman, Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps, United States Army, set two American Cross-Country Nonstop Records for Distance and Duration by flying a single-engine Burgess Model H Military Tractor (also known as the Burgess-Wright Model H) biplane from Texas City to San Antonio, Texas, a distance of 220 miles (354 kilometers), in 4 hours, 22 minutes. Sherman was Daedalian Founder Member #4199. Milling was #133, and was the first U.S. military officer authorized to wear a military aviator badge as part of his uniform.
 
March 29, 1923
Lt. Alexander Pearson made a record 500-kilometer flight at 167.73 mph in a Verville-Sperry, with Wright 350-hp engine, at McCook Field, in Dayton, Ohio. Pearson was Daedalian Founder Member #470.
 
March 30, 1979
In the Yellow Sea between China and the Korean Peninsula, the 160-foot, 3,000-ton Taiwanese freighter Ta Lai ran aground. As 20-foot waves battered the stranded ship, rocks punched through the hull. It was taking on water and sinking. Her crew of 28 men were in danger. Detachment 13, 33rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, at Osan Air Base, South Korea, answered the distress call. Air Force Maj. James E. McArdle, Jr. and his crew of four flew their helicopter, "Rescue 709," a Sikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant, serial number 67-14709, through the darkness and gale-force winds to the stranded vessel. These men were just completing their regular 12-hour duty schedule when the distress call came in, but no other crews or helicopters were available. In addition to Major McArdle, the aircraft commander, the crew consisted of 1st Lt. Van J. Leffler, pilot; Sgt. James E. Coker, flight engineer; Staff Sgt. Tony Carlo and Sgt. Mark Zitzow, PJs. Click HERE to read the entire story of this daring rescue, for which Major McArdle received the Mackay Trophy.
 
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This is very good  Thanks to the Early Bird
 
 
 
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Thanks to Dutch R.
 
Trump recognizes Golan Heights as Israeli territory
Proclamation reverses decades of U.S. policy saying land was Syria's
BY TOM HOWELL J R. THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President Trump on Monday formally recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a much needed boost as he raced home to respond to a rocket attack that struck near Tel Aviv, wounding seven.
Mr. Trump's proclamation reversed about a half-century of U.S. policy, which viewed the Golan Heights as Syrian territory occupied by Israel.
"This was a long time in the making, it should have taken place many decades ago," Mr. Trump said as he signed the papers inside the White House.
Monday's abbreviated summit underscored the close partnership between Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu, who faces re-election next month under the specter of corruption charges back home.
The prime minister had been scheduled to dine with the president Tuesday and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, but cut that schedule short to return home to deal with the aftermath of the missile attack launched from Gaza, a Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave.
Before taking off, Mr. Netanyahu praised Mr. Trump as Israeli's steadfast partner, citing his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
"You have never flinched, you have always been there," Mr. Netanyahu said.
The brief visit also gave Mr. Trump a chance to bolster his standing among his conservative base, which prizes U.S.-Israeli relations, and reissue his hardline stance on Iran.
Mr. Netanyahu said Iran-backed Hezbollah has been intervening in the Golan Heights, which overlook Israel and were seized by the Jewish state in the 1967 Six-Day War with its several Arab neighbors.
Mr. Trump said the U.S. will not avert its eyes to an Iranian "dictatorship" that "chants 'death to America, death to Israel.'" "We won't let them even consider that," he said.
Amnesty International USA called the president's proclamation an "irresponsible" and "reckless" move that appeared to skirt international law and would bring the region no closer to peace.
"Such announcements — like the administration's decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — will only make the human rights crisis in the region worse," said Philippe Nassif, Middle East advocacy director at Amnesty International USA. "Trump must understand that a just and sustainable peace requires full respect for international law
and human rights."
Mr. Trump says Israel must assert control of the Golan Heights to prevent Iran-backed terrorist groups from using it to launch attacks like the one that struck Monday.
The president offered his condolences to Israel over the attack, noting children were among the wounded.
"Our prayers are with our friend in Israel as they carry out an incredible way of life in the face of great terror," said Mr. Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other dignitaries.
Mr. Netanyahu said his military is devising plans to retaliate, and that his early departure would allow him to "direct our actions close-hand."
The president also vowed to combat the "poison of anti-Semitism," after a controversy over a freshman House Democrat's tweets about Israel's influence in U.S. political circles.
Benny Gantz, Mr. Netanyahu's political foe, angled for the upper hand on national security during his own stop in the U.S.
"Those that seek life are always stronger than those seeking death and I'm telling you, the leaders of Hamas, you will not change that," he said at AIPAC.
Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this report.
 
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Thanks to Micro
 
MIME THROUGH TIME | SketchSHE
This is a hoot !  
 Very well done 3-min clip!


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Afghanistan—14 Civilians Killed In U.S. Airstrike In Kunduz New York Times | 03/26/2019 At least four Afghan soldiers and 14 civilians have been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz province, reports the New York Times.  The incident began early Saturday morning when a vehicle in a convoy of American and Afghan special operators broke down in northern Kunduz.  The troops who exited to check the armored vehicle came under fire from a nearby Afghan soldier, who Afghan officials said was a Taliban insider trying to provoke an attack.  U.S. troops fired back, prompting gunfire from a nearby Afghan army outpost. These Afghan troops were unaware of how the fighting started, said a police commander.  After 20 minutes of fighting, U.S. troops called in airstrikes. One of the strikes hit a house where a refugee family was living. Fourteen members of the family were killed.  An Afghan army outpost was also hit, reportedly killing four to eight soldiers.  The insider who started the fighting fled to a nearby Taliban position but was killed in a case of mistaken identity, said a provincial council member.  A military spokeswoman confirmed the attack, but suggested the reports could have been coerced. There were reports from the area that the Taliban was beating locals to say that civilians were killed, she said. On Monday, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan confirmed that at least 13 civilians were killed in the airstrike, reported the Tolo News (Afghanistan).  
 
Syria—SDF Calls For International Tribunal To Try ISIS Fighters Kurdistan 24 | 03/26/2019 The U.S.-backed forces in eastern Syria have called for an international tribunal to try detained ISIS fighters, reports Kurdistan 24 (Iraqi Kurdistan).  In a statement on Monday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) called for an international court to try the more than 5,000 suspected ISIS members in its custody.  An international tribunal would ensure that trials are conducted in line with international law and human rights covenants and charters, said the SDF.  In February, an SDF spokesman told Al Jazeera (Qatar) that it was working with the U.S. to establish such a court. The SDF has said that it does not have the capacity to hold the detainees indefinitely. Aid groups have warned of worsening conditions in the camps, which also house civilians evacuated from ISIS-held areas.  The U.S. has pushed for countries to repatriate and try suspected ISIS fighters. Many European countries have resisted this call, arguing that they could be released due to a lack of evidence. Instead, several countries say the fighters should be tried in the areas where their crimes were committed.  On Saturday, the SDF declared the victory over the terror group in eastern Syria after clearing the town of Baghouz, the last piece of territory held by ISIS.  
 
USA—Defense Dept. Seeks To Shift Funding, Obtain Supplemental To Address Hurricane Damage Defense News | 03/26/2019 The Pentagon has requested the reprogramming of $600 million and additional funds to repair damage done by a series of natural disasters, reports Defense News.  In a March 23 letter to service secretaries and chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan estimated that repairing the damage from recent hurricanes and storms could cost $9 billion over several years. The Pentagon has already submitted a request to redirect $600 million to recovery efforts, according to the letter, which was not made public.  A supplemental plan is needed to cover the recovery costs, which are not typically absorbed by the Pentagon.  The Air Force and Marines have been hard hit by the storms, including Hurricane Florence, which struck Camp Lejeune, N.C., in September; Hurricane Michael, which hit Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in October; and flooding that swept through Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska earlier this month.  The status of military reconstruction funds has been called into question over border fencing along the southern border. The Trump administration has sought to use previously appropriated funds for military construction to fund border infrastructure. 
 
USA—Pentagon Approves Transfer Of US$1 Billion For Border Infrastructure Work Cable News Network | 03/26/2019 The Pentagon has authorized the reprogramming of $1 billion towards the construction of a barrier along the southern border, reports CNN.  On Monday, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan authorized the Army Corp of Engineers to begin planning and constructing 57 miles (91 km) of 18-foot tall pedestrian fencing between the Yuma and El Paso sectors of the southern border, reported Bloomberg News. The work also includes building and improving roads and installing lighting.  The Defense Dept. statement indicated that it had the authority to build roads and fences and install lighting to block drug smuggling corridors in support of federal law enforcement, reported Military.com. The installation of lighting would include embedded cameras, Shanahan said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.  Shanahan informed Congress of the transfer in a letter.  The announcement is the first since President Trump declared a state of emergency in February.  Under the declaration, money designated for some military and police efforts, including drug interdiction and military construction, can be redirected to the construction of a barrier along the border.  
 
USA—Trump Signs Order Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights New York Times | 03/26/2019 President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, fulfilling a promise made last week, reports the New York Times.  On Monday, Trump signed a statement recognizing Israeli authority over the territory in a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu called the territory "invaluable" to Israeli national security, reported NPR News.   The decision, which reverses decades of U.S. policy and runs counter to U.N. resolutions, was first announced last week.  Israel seized the area from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967 and annexed it in 1981.  The move provoked criticism from across the region. On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia warned of negative effects on regional security.  The Al-Marsad human-rights group said the decision could lead to violence in the Golan Heights, which has been relatively peaceful.  A European Union spokesperson told Haaretz (Israel) that the recognition would not change the bloc's position.  A Syrian Foreign Ministry official called the decision a "flagrant aggression of the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Syria, reported the state-run SANA news agency.  
 
USA—Complex Missile Defense Test A Success, Says MDA Bloomberg News | 03/26/2019 The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has conducted what has been called its most complex test of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defensesystem, reports Bloomberg News. The interceptors were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Monday at about 10:30 a.m., reported the Noozhawk (Santa Barbara, Calif.).  The test involved the firing of two interceptors armed with the latest Raytheon warheads within seconds of each other, according to unnamed sources familiar with the plans cited by Bloomberg. It was the first salvo engagement test of an ICBM target by two Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs), said a Missile Defense Agency release. The first interceptor was expected to collide with a dummy target representing an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The second would use its sensors to detect another ICBM and other countermeasures, the sources said. Initial data indicated that the trial was a success, said the agency. This was the first test of the GMD since May 2017. The interception attempt is the GMD's first operational flight test and "if successful, will have demonstrated a fundamental, yet crucially important, aspect of how the warfighter will operate" the system in a missile attack on the U.S. homeland, said Cristina Chaplain, the space and missile defense systems director for the Government Accountability Office.  
 
USA—Terrell Horne Fast Response Cutter Enters Service U.S. Coast Guard | 03/26/2019 The U.S. Coast Guard has commissioned its newest Sentinel-class fast response cutter. The Terrell Horne (WPC-1131) formally entered service during a ceremony in San Pedro, Calif., on March 22, said a service release. The cutter honors Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, who saved fellow guardsmen from an attack by suspected drug smugglers off the southern California coast in December 2012. Horne sustained fatal injuries in the attack. The Terrell Horne will be the third fast response cutter to be homeported at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach. The cutter will operate throughout the 11th Coast Guard District, which includes all of California and international waters off Mexico and Central America.  
 
Canada—U.N. Asks Ottawa To Extend Mali Mission Canadian Press | 03/26/2019 The United Nations has formally asked Canada to extend its peacekeeping mission in Mali to prevent gaps in medical evacuation capabilities, reports the Canadian Press. The Canadian contingent, comprising eight helicopters and 250 troops, is set to withdraw from the mission in July, about three months before Romania is scheduled to take over operations in mid-October. In a letter dated Feb. 28, the U.N. requested that the Canada continue full operations until Sept. 15 and then draw down to more limited operations until Oct. 15. Ottawa requested a two-week extension to the March 22 deadline to respond to the letter, said a U.N. official. Canada has opposed an extension, arguing that the U.  
 
Poland—NATO To Build Storage Facility For U.S. Military Equipment In Podwidz Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | 03/26/2019 NATO has announced plans to build a storage facility in Poland for U.S. military equipment, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The US$260 million (230 million euro) facility will be located in Podwidz, about 125 miles (200 km) west of Warsaw, and will be capable of storing armored vehicles, ammunition and weapons to arm a full brigade, a NATO official told Agence France-Presse on Saturday. The U.S. military has deployed troops to the region since 2014 following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. Warsaw has expressed growing concern about regional security and recently called for a permanent U.S. military presence within its borders. The storage facility will help "underpin the increased U.S. presence in Poland," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Construction is slated to begin this summer and take about two years to complete, Stoltenberg said. NATO plans to complete some 250 other infrastructure projects across Europe by 2021, in an effort to increase the alliance's capacity to handle heavy equipment, the secretary-general said.  
 
Russia—Unlimited-Range Cruise Missile Unlikely To Be Ready For A Decade CNBC | 03/26/2019 A Russian cruise missile with unlimited range touted by President Vladimir Putin last year has yet to successfully complete a test, reports CNBC.  The Burevestnik, called "Skyfall" in U.S. intelligence reports, took part in four tests last year and one earlier this year, said an intelligence source.  Each test resulted in a crash, said the source. The longest flight lasted about two minutes, covering 22 miles (35 km). The shortest test saw the missile airborne for four seconds, flying 5 miles (8 km) before crashing.  The missile is thought to use a gasoline-powered engine for takeoff and switch to a nuclear engine in flight. In the observed launches, the nuclear-powered engines failed to engage, said the source.  The Burevestnik will likely take another decade to become operational and will be too expensive for wide usage, according to U.S. intelligence estimates.  In a March 2018 speech, Putin unveiled six new weapons, including the Burevestnik, that he said would soon be ready for service. 
 
Kosovo—Deputy Minister Who Called NATO Campaign 'Genocide' Dismissed  Balkan Investigative Reporting Network | 03/26/2019 Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has dismissed a Serb deputy justice minister for her criticism of the 1999 NATO air campaign in Serbia, reports the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  Vesna Mikic called the campaign "deliberate, planned genocide," in a statement published on Facebook on Sunday. Prime Minister Haradinaj fired Mikic on Monday, calling her comments a violation of Kosovo's values.  In March 1999, NATO launched an air campaign against Serbia in response to Belgrade's crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, noted Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. About 500 people were killed, according to Human Rights Watch.  After 78 days, the Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.   
 
Morocco—Government Seeks New, Upgraded F-16 Jets Defense Security Cooperation Agency | 03/26/2019 The U.S. State Dept. has approved a pair of potential deals to strengthen Morocco's fleet of F-16 fighter jets, reports the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).  One possible sale, worth US$3.8 billion, covers 25 new F-16C/D Block 72 aircraft. Also included are 29 engines; 26 APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars; 26 modular mission computers; 26 Link 16 multifunctional distribution systems; 26 LN260 embedded global navigation systems; and 40 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems.  The proposed deal also covers 40 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs); 50 GBU-49 bombs; and 60 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs.  The DSCA also announced a separate proposal, worth US$985 million, to upgrade Morocco's existing 23 F-16s to the F-16V configuration.  This potential sale includes 26 APG-83 AESA radars; 26 modular mission computers; 26 Link 16 multifunctional information distribution system – JTRS; 26 LN260 embedded global navigation systems; 26 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems; and 26 improved programmable display generators. State also approved the sale of 50 LAU-129 multi-purpose launchers; and 26 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods.  The proposed sale would enhance Morocco's self-defense capabilities and improve interoperability with the U.S., said the DSCA.   
 
Oman—New Accord Grants U.S. Military Access To Ports Oman News Agency | 03/26/2019 The Omani Ministry of Defense has finalized an agreement with the U.S. Dep. Of Defense enabling American forces to use its strategic ports on the Arabian Sea, reports the Oman News Agency. A framework agreement was signed on March 23 by Omani Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defense Mohammed bin Nasser bin Mohammed al Rasbi and Marc Sievers, the U.S. ambassador to Oman. The agreement grants U.S. forces access to Omani facilities, including airports and ports, in Duqm and Salalah in the southern part of the country, reported Reuters. The deal has been in the works since the Obama administration, said officials. Oman sees the agreement as a way to develop Duqm port. The deal gives the U.S. military better access to the Gulf region and reduces the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime chokepoint off the coast of Iran. Tehran has previously threatened to block the waterway in response to any hostile U.S. action, such as sanctions on Iranian oil exports. Access to the ports, which connect to a network of roads to the broader region, also provides the military with more options and greater resilience in a crisis, said an unnamed U.S. official. "We used to operate on the assumption that we could just steam into the Gulf," the official said. The "quality and quantity of Iranian weapons" now causes concern, he said. Duqm port is ideal for larger ships and can even accommodate an aircraft carrier, another official said. 
 
India—Initial Batch Of Indigenous Howitzers Due For Delivery Economic Times | 03/26/2019 The Indian army is expected to receive its first batch of new, domestically-produced long-range howitzers this week, reports the Economic Times (India). The first five of 114 planned Dhanush artillery guns are scheduled to be handed over on Tuesday during a ceremony at the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board facility in Jabalpur in the central Madhya Pradesh state, said government officials last week.  The first regiment of 18 Dhanush howitzers is slated to enter service by the end of the year and will be deployed along the borders with Pakistan and China, the officials said. The Dhanush, an upgraded version of the Bofors 155-mm FH-77B, is the first long-range artillery gun to be produced in India. The howitzer has a range of 24 miles (38 km) and is equipped with an inertial navigation-based sighting system; auto-laying capability; onboard ballistic computer; and an advanced day and night direct-firing system. The Ordnance Factory Board was authorized to produce 114 Dhanush howitzers in February 2019, noted the Press Trust of India.   
 
Japan—Defense Ministry Seeks To Extend Range Of Domestic Anti-Ship Missile Jiji Press | 03/26/2019 The Japanese Ministry of Defense plans to extend the range of its latest domestic anti-ship missile in response to China's growing arsenal of long-range weapons, reports the Jiji Press (Tokyo). Plans call for upgrading the ASM-3 supersonic air-to-ship cruise missile so that it can fly for more than 250 miles (400 km), unnamed sources told the news agency on Saturday. The missile currently has a range of 124 miles (200 km). The ASM-3 is intended to replace aging Type 93 missiles and will be carried by F-2 strike fighters, noted Jane's Defence Weekly last week. The missile cannot be integrated with the F-2 until a new advanced mission computer is completed, said Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya. The new missile would also be carried by the successor aircraft to the F-2, which is set to retire from service in 2035, the minister said. The new weapon is expected to enhance Japan's ability to defend its remote southwestern islands. The ASM-3, which has a top speed of Mach 3, has also been delayed because its current range is considered too limited. Officials hope to include funding for the new missile program in the fiscal 2020 budget request, according to the sources.  
 
Malaysia—Prime Minister Walks Back Threat To Boycott European Fighters Over Palm Oil Spat Bernama | 03/26/2019 Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has threatened to boycott European fighter jets if the European Union pursues plans to phase out the use of palm oil in biofuels, reports Bernama, Malaysia's official news agency. Malaysia, the world's second-largest palm oil producer, will consider abandoning plans to purchase France's Rafale or the Eurofighter Typhoon in favor of aircraft from China or any other country, Mohamad said on Sunday. On Monday, the prime minister downplayed his comments, saying that the government had not decided to buy Chinese aircraft and might not buy any jets at all, reported Bloomberg News. The E.U. is expected to propose legislation next month to restrict the use of palm oil as a biofuel and completely ban it in transport use by 2030. The move comes in response to concerns over deforestation caused by palm oil cultivation.  Mohamad rejected the claim, arguing that the E.U. is just blocking the export of palm oil to protect its own economy.
 
 
 


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