Friday, April 12, 2019

TheList 4971

The List 4971     TGB


 
To All,
 
I hope that you all have a great weekend. 39 years ago at about this time of day both my son who was born 12 weeks early at less than 3 pounds and my wife were both in intensive care. Thanks to outstanding care at Children's hospital They both recovered and are here today. It is a great day.
Regards,
Skip
 
This day in Naval History April 12, 2019
 
1861 The Civil War begins with Confederates firing on Fort Sumter, S.C. The Union Navy plays an integral part blockading Confederates, keeping them diplomatically and economically contained from other nations.
1911 Lt. Theodore Ellyson completes his aviator training at the Glenn Curtiss Aviation Camp at North Island, San Diego, Calif., and becomes Naval Aviator No. 1.
1944 USS Halibut (SS 232) sinks Japanese army passenger/cargo ship Taichu Maru despite the presence of at least three escort vessels.
1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies at Warm Springs, Ga. Besides being the nations longest-serving president, he also was an Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
1962 U.S. Navy demonstrates new landing craft with retractable hydrofoils, LCVP (H), which are named Highlanders. The Navy eventually rejects the craft because it cant keep a straight path like a standard LCVP.
1981 The first re-useable Space Shuttle, Columbia (STS-1) is launched with an all-US Navy crew: Capt. John W. Young (Ret.) is the shuttles commander and Lt. Cmdr. Robert L. Crippen is the pilot.
1986 USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) is commissioned at Bath, Maine.
1993 Aircraft from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and NATO forces begin enforcing the no-fly zone over the Bosnia in Operation Deny Flight.
2003 USS Mason (DDG 87) is commissioned at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is the 37th in the class and the ninth of the Flight IIA variant.
 
 
This day in Naval History April 13, 2019
 
1940 USS J. Fred Talbott (DD 156) returns to the Panama Canal Zone after providing medical assistance to a passenger on board Japanese steamship SS Arimasan Maru.
1942 USS Grayling (SS 209) sinks the Japanese freighter Ryujin Maru off southest tip of Shikoku, Japan.
1944 USS Harder (SS 257) sinks the Japanese destroyer Ikazuchi, 180 miles SSW of Guam.
1952 During the Korean War, sorties launch from USS Philippine Sea (CV 47) and Boxer (CV 21) and deliver 200 tons of aircraft ordnance to the North Korean target area.
1960 The Navy's navigation satellite, Transit 1B, which demonstrates the first engine restart in space, is placed into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by Thor-Able-Star.
1981 AV-8A Harriers deploy as a Marine Air Group on board an amphibious assault ship for the first time.
1996 USS Carney (DDG 64) is commissioned at Mayport, Fla., her homeport. The destroyer is the 14th of the Arleigh Burke-class and the first to be named after Adm. Robert Carney, the Chief of Naval Operations during the Eisenhower administration.
 
 
This day in Naval History April 14, 2019
 
1898 The first post-Civil War hospital ship, USS Solace (AH 2) is commissioned and soon participates in the Spanish-American War attending to wounded servicemen from battles in Cuba
1942 USS Roper (DD 147) sinks German submarine U 85 off the Virginia Capes. Before being sunk by Roper, U 85 sank three Allied merchant vessels.
1945 USS Tirante (SS 420), commanded by Lt. Cmdr. George L. Street III, attacks a Japanese convoy in the approaches to the Yellow Sea and sinks a transport ship and two vessels. Street earns Medal of Honor for his actions.
1969 A North Korean aircraft shoots down an unarmed EC-121 propeller-driven Constellation, killing all 31 crewmembers on board.
1988 During Operation Ernest Will, USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) strikes an Iranian mine off Qatar, injuring 10 sailors. Four days later, the US Navy retaliates with Operation Praying Mantis, which strikes Iranian oil platforms, sinks an Iranian frigate, patrol ship, and damages another frigate.
 
Thanks to CHINFO
 
Executive Summary:
In national headlines today, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday in London to face a charge in the United States of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer network in 2010, and multiple reports that the Trump administration pressured the Department of Homeland Security to release immigrants detained at the southern border into sanctuary cities. Adm. Bill Moran has been nominated to replace Adm. John Richardson as Chief of Naval Operations reports Navy Times. "He has been central to the Navy adopting a fighting stance in this great power competition," Richardson said of Moran. "As I turn over and go ashore, I will rest easy knowing that, pending confirmation, Adm. Moran has the watch." Pacific Partnership 2019 concluded on Thursday with a mission stop in Kuching Malaysia and Free Malaysia Today reports that USS Blue Ridge arrived in Kota Kinabalu for a scheduled port visit.
 
 
This day in World History
April 12
1204
The Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople.
1606
England adopts the Union Jack as its flag.
1770
Parliament repeals the Townsend Acts.
1782
The British navy wins its only naval engagement against the colonists in the American Revolution at the Battle of Saints, off Dominica.
1811
The first colonists arrive at Cape Disappointment, Washington.
1861
Fort Sumter is shelled by the Confederacy, starting America's Civil War.
1864
Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captures Fort Pillow, in Tennessee.
1877
The first catcher's mask is used in a baseball game.
1911
Pierre Prier completes the first non-stop London-Paris flight in three hours and 56 minutes.
1916
American cavalrymen and Mexican bandit troops clash at Parral, Mexico.
1927
The British Cabinet comes out in favor of voting rights for women.
1944
The U.S. Twentieth Air Force is activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan.
1945
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies at Warm Spring, Georgia. Harry S. Truman becomes president.
1954
Bill Haley records "Rock Around the Clock."
1955
Dr. Jonas Salk's discovery of a polio vaccine is announced.
1961
Soviet Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin becomes first man to orbit the Earth.
1963
Police use dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama.
1966
Emmett Ashford becomes the first African-American major league umpire.
1983
Harold Washington is elected the first black mayor of Chicago.
 
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1861
Civil War begins as Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter
 
 
 
 
The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern "insurrection."
As early as 1858, the ongoing conflict between North and South over the issue of slavery had led Southern leadership to discuss a unified separation from the United States. By 1860, the majority of the slave states were publicly threatening secession if the Republicans, the anti-slavery party, won the presidency. Following Republican Abraham Lincoln's victory over the divided Democratic Party in November 1860, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings. On December 20, the South Carolina legislature passed the "Ordinance of Secession," which declared that "the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved." After the declaration, South Carolina set about seizing forts, arsenals, and other strategic locations within the state. Within six weeks, five more Southern states–MississippiFloridaAlabamaGeorgia, and Louisiana–had followed South Carolina's lead.
In February 1861, delegates from those states convened to establish a unified government. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was subsequently elected the first president of the Confederate States of America. When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, a total of seven states (Texas had joined the pack) had seceded from the Union, and federal troops held only Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Fort Pickens off the Florida coast, and a handful of minor outposts in the South. Four years after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.
 
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Thanks to Carl
 
 
April 12, 2019
Veterans Old Deal
 
War after war, administration after administration, and every spoiled generation after every lost generation - there has always been "a good reason" for making Veterans wait.
Let´s see…Humanitarian aid was "fairly" distributed abroad, but humanitarian emergency relief was not provided to the homeless Veterans at home… Medical help for refugees was considered urgent, but thousands of American Veterans died waiting for the most honorably earned (and the most shamefully overdue) healthcare…
 While decades-long neglect is only the tip of the iceberg of the revolting treatment of our warriors, it is still raining politicians who say that we will have "blood on our hands" if "Global Warming" doesn´t go first.
What about blood of our Veterans?
The Veterans "old deal" sounds so much like "ordeal" in more ways than one. And it´s not only about getting enlisted to be "disposed of," not only about the VA who, for decades, should have had for a motto "Uncle Sam doesn´t want you anymore." 
On March 31, Senator Bernie Sanders and Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi "commemorated the International Transgender Day of Visibility" by replacing POW/MIA flags in entrances of their offices with "transgender equality flags."
It makes your blood boil, and the mainstream-media act as "it´s only blood of Veterans."
How about a "National Day of Veterans Visibility" as a reminder of unresolved issues of neglect, harassment and discrimination? It is high time to expose the collusion between "who," "why," and "how much"?
In line with the principle "easier said than done –so let´s bloviate," a variety of experts (who´d never been homeless or wounded), pontificate about philosophical reasons for Veterans´ suicides and PTSD, instead of focusing on the immediate needs and letting Veterans live their lives.
Serving and honoring those who served is the "Veterans Old Deal." Deal with it!
 The "Full Committee Hearing: VA 2030 A Vision for the Future of VA" (2019-02-27) , is proof positive of administrative "farsightedness." 2030? How about…today? All around Robin Hood´s barn and all roads still lead to the "epicenter" of Veterans homelessness (2:16:8) in California. Beating around VASH, but not a word about corruption,cronyism and "improper "use of Veterans´ land … Ruthless local elites, VSOs and "charities" keep stealing from homeless warriors, haven´t you noticed?
When will the ribbon-cutting hypocrites quit mooching off heroes? When will the freeloading parasites be stopped from panhandling life and limb from soldiers who fight for our freedom?
Today, Veterans, Veteran Rights Advocates, and whistleblowers are still left with open wounds of injustice and betrayal. Smug crooks, who consider it´s a done deal, should think twice. We swore to protect the United States of Veterans, not joint accounts of profane ingrates.
 
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Thanks to  Glenn
 
SR-71 cockpit talk thru
 
Skip,
fascinating cockpit brief....
 
 
Glenn
 
 
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Thanks to Dr. Rich
 
Houston Amazon 747 Crash 23 Feb 19 - post mortem, and ugly!
From the net…courtesy of a reliable source and JC …
 
Just FYI… we've heard the full cockpit audio and seen the data.  Here's what really happened (names redacted please to protect the innocent!):
 
During the approach, at about 6,000 FT (being flown by the first officer), the Captain reached around the throttle quadrant to extend the flaps to the next position after being called to do so by the first officer (pilot flying)… very normal.  In many aircraft including the 767, that's a very odd/difficult repositioning of your hand (from the left seat, all the way around to the right side of the center console), and requires intimate familiarity and slow/non-spazzy (technical term!)/deliberate motion to do successfully.
Well in any case, it was not done so this time.  The captain accidently hit the "go around" switch while bringing his hand around for the flaps, which brought both engines up to full power.  In the landing configuration, as this aircraft was transitioning into, that obviously causes a vast increase in lift… and the first officer (pilot flying) used everything he had to force the nose back down.  Still not sure why that occurred, as the crew should have just "gone around" then and tried it again when properly configured… but they did not.  And that started in motion a chain of events that lead to tragedy.
As the First Officer over-rotated downward, again with the engines at full power, the aircraft quickly accelerated and approached something we're all trained to handle (at least in good training environments)… an "upset recovery", countered by NON-AUTOMATION and basic "stick and rudder skills".  This captain however, in turn, grabbed the controls without using positive command ("I've got", "My aircraft", or anything normally done), and countered the F/O's control input by completely hauling his control column full aft… remember, while the F/O is pushing full forward.
In the process of doing that, he broke the "shear pin" on his control column (a device/mechanical safety interlock used to separate a control column from the "innards" of the control architecture in the event one control column is doing something it should not)… and that occurred here.
The captain, a few seconds later, now accelerating downward out of the control envelope of the 767 (remember, all of this started at 6000 FT and probably took less time to get to the fatal point than it did to read this far), recognizes the has no control column and then asks the F/O to pull up, get the nose up, or something to that affect.  It isn't 100% clear what he says.
The F/O then tries to pull aft on his column (going from full forward to full aft), but isn't getting the response he needs, because the aircraft is out of the envelope of controllability and the controls are "air-loaded" in position.
At about 2000 FT, eventually the trim motors are able to start overcoming the air-load, and the aircraft begins to attempt to arrest its rate of descent… but alas it's far too little, far too late, and the aircraft impacts about 30-40 degrees nose down, with what is believed to be about 4-5000 FT / minute rate of descent.
Oh by the way, the throttles aren't touched until somewhere during that last few seconds of flight… which is believed to be what enabled the trim motors to start working.  Unclear who does it, and no audio indicates who it was.
Just FYI… we've attempted in our 767 simulators to recover from the event with the exact same setup, and thus far we've only had success when starting at 8000' or higher… meaning we are fully established in the "out of control" position at 8000', recognize it by then, and initiate recovery starting at 8000'.  These guys started the whole thing at 6000' and were much lower when a true recovery attempt was initiated.  No chance, and just shows you how quickly you can get "out of the envelope" when you don't follow procedure, try some completely erroneous recovery technique, and don't have a clue what you're doing.
So many things went wrong with crew coordination, basic flying skills, aircraft envelope awareness, basic procedures, and such… that this will likely go down as one of the absolute worst "pilot error" events ever.  It needs to have serious impact throughout the Amazon flying circus (and associated partnerships), and show people that Jeff Bezos' attempt to push the envelope at lower cost, all things else be damned, doesn't apply to aviation.  This accident no doubt was absolutely horrible, and three people lost their lives…one of them (the jumpseater) through absolutely no fault of his own.  But making an approach into Houston, TX, it could have been so much worse.  In another few miles, they would have been over major population centers and who knows what would have happened then.
 
Know your aircraft.  Know your procedures.  And for God sakes, just FLY! 
 
 
 
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Thanks to Richard
 
The USAF has released a basic illustration, attached. B-21 sounds a lot more advanced than B-3. "The Bomber for the 21st Century".  More info at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_B-21_Raider


 
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Thanks to Chuck
 
MUST READ!!!  We may finally know what causes Alzheimer's – and how to stop it | New Scientist
 
This could be a real breakthrough!
 
 
 
 
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USA—SpaceX Successfully Launches Commercial Satellite With Reusable Falcon Heavy Rockets  Cable News Network | 04/12/2019 The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket has successfully completed its first flight for a commercial client, reports CNN. On Thursday, the Falcon Heavy took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to place a Saudi communications satellite into orbit.  All three rocket boosters used in the launch landed as planned, with two coming down on launch pads in Florida and a third landing on a unmanned surface ship about 10 minutes later, reported Reuters.  During previous launches, the reusable boosters failed to land intact.  Thursday's launch employed upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 rockets, including engine improvements, more durable interstage, titanium grid fins and a new thermal protection system to enhance the rocket's ability to handle the stresses of launch and improve reusability, reported Space.com. SpaceX says the Block 5 rockets can be used up to 10 times with minimal refurbishment between flights.    
 
USA—Moran Nominated To Become Next Chief Of Naval Operations USNI News | 04/12/2019 The White House has nominated Adm. Bill Moran as the next chief of naval operations, reports USNI News. The nomination was submitted to the Senate on Wednesday. If confirmed, Moran will become the 32nd chief of naval operations, succeeding Adm. John Richardson, who is expected to retire this summer after the change of command. Moran has served as vice chief of naval operations since May 2016. He chaired the readiness council that has been in charge of implementing changes to improve the efficacy of the Navy's surface fleet following the deadly destroyer collisions in 2017 that killed 17 sailors. Prior to his tenure as VNCO, Moran served as the chief of naval personnel and oversaw the Sailor 2025 program, which put more emphasis on performance and leadership traits for promotions; offered more flexible career paths; and revamped training, noted Military.com. Vice Adm. Robert Burke, the current chief of naval personnel, has been nominated to succeed Moran as vice chief of naval operations.    
 
USA—Pentagon Cancels Longstanding Contract With Academic Advisory Group Science | 04/12/2019 The U.S. Dept. of Defense has decided to sever its longstanding ties with the academic advisory group known as Jason, reports Science(Washington, D.C.). Jason was formed during the early years of the Cold War and consists of some 50 experts that provide the military with independent technical expertise on a range of national security issues, such as the maintenance of nuclear stockpiles and the technical aspects of proposed weapon systems. Late last month, the MITRE Corp., a non-profit organization that manages the Jason contract, received a letter from the Pentagon ordering it to terminate the deal by the end of April. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract had a five-year period of performance, which was set to expire on March 31. The Office of the Secretary of Defense decided to continue the contract in November and was expected to announce the contract award in mid-March. Instead, the office decided to cancel the contract. The move was driven in part by a change in requirements from multiple studies to a single study required by the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. In that case, issuing a new indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract did not make economic sense, reported Defense One. The IDIQ structure permitted the Pentagon to commission multiple studies through Jason and enabled other agencies, such as the Dept. of Homeland Security, to order around 15 studies annually. By changing the contract from IDIQ to a single contract, other agencies will no longer be able to commission studies, effectively killing the program without technically terminating it, noted the website.    
 
USA—Navy Orders More Advanced Hawkeye Early Warning Aircraft Under Multiyear Contract Dept. Of Defense | 04/12/2019 The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Northrop Grumman, Aerospace Systems, Melbourne, Fla., a contract modification for additional airborne early warning aircraft, reports the Dept. of Defense. The $3.2 billion deal covers 24 full-rate production Lots 7-11 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, said a Pentagon release on Wednesday. The contract also has an option for nine additional foreign military sales aircraft, said a Northrop Grumman release on Thursday. Japan was authorized to buy up to nine E-2Ds last year. Tokyo has already ordered four of the aircraft. Production of the 24 Navy aircraft ordered under the five-year contract was slated to be completed in 2026, the company said. The Navy said it would save $411 million, or 11 percent, by committing to five years of production, reported Flight Global. The latest deal brings the total number of E-2Ds under contract for the Navy to 49, noted IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. The service has taken delivery of 37 aircraft to date. Northrop Grumman also indicated that it was set to release the third capability upgrade for the Advanced Hawkeye, which includes an aerial refueling capability, in the fall of 2019.    
 
Lithuania—Reports Of Bribery Investigation Into Defense Minister Part Of Cyber Attack, Defense Ministry Says Lithuanian Ministry Of Defense | 04/12/2019 The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense says Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis has been the target of a cyber disinformation attack. Reports from the Kas vyksta Kaune news portal that Karoblis was under investigation for taking a US$586,000 (520,000 euros) bribe were based on emails purporting to be from a defense ministry employee from a forged email address, the ministry said. The fake emails also included links that possibly led to malicious sites. The National Cybersecurity Center is investigating the incident and has warned people not to forward the emails or open links in them. The attack employed a social engineering method, including a counterfeit email address and convincing text aimed at deceiving or misleading, said Rytis Rainys, the head of the center. The fake news spread rapidly across social media in Lithuania, noted the defense ministry. The disinformation attempt was an effort to discredit me as well as the entire national defense system and harm public trust in the armed forces, Karoblis said. He is currently on a visit to Ukraine.    
 
North Korea—Kim Reshuffles Top Leadership To Strengthen Hold On Power Yonhap | 04/12/2019 North Korea has elected a new nominal head of state as part of a broader political shakeup designed to consolidate Kim Jong Un's hold on power, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).  In a major party meeting on Thursday, Choe Ryong Hae was elected as the constitutional head of state and assumed the second-highest position in the State Affairs Commission, the Korean Central News Agency reported on Friday. Choe replaced Kim Yong Nam, who had held the position since it was established in 1998. The new head of state is considered close to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un despite a history of occasionally falling out with some party members, reported Reuters.  He is likely to represent Pyongyang in international negotiations, including those related to the North's nuclear weapons program.  Choe's grandfather had ties to Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and grandfather of Kim Jong Un.  Kim was also re-elected as chairman of the State Affairs Commission, the highest position in the North Korean government.  Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui was promoted to first vice foreign minister, signaling Kim's continued approval of her despite the breakdown of negotiations in February. She is believed to have replaced Kim Kye Gwan as first vice foreign minister.  The shakeup is also likely intended to strengthen North Korea's negotiating position as it pushes Washington ease sanctions, said analysts.   
 
Indonesia—Domestically Built Submarine Launched In Surabaya Diplomat | 04/12/2019 State-owned shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia has launched the latest Nagapasa-class diesel-electric attack submarine for the Indonesian navy, reports the Diplomat (Tokyo).  The Alugoro (405) was put into the water on Thursday during a ceremony at the PT PAL shipyard in Surabaya on the northeastern coast of Java island. The submarine is the third of the class and the first to be domestically built. The Nagapasa class, based on the South Korean Jang Bogo class, a license-built variant of the German Type 209, has an operational range of 11,000 nm (17,700 km) with an endurance of about 50 days and can be armed with heavyweight torpedoes, anti-ship missiles and mines. The sub is designed for anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare as well as special operations missions. In December 2011, the Indonesian signed a US$1.1 billion contract with South Korea for three Nagapasa-class attack submarines. Under the deal, the first two submarines would be built by South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and the third by PT PAL Indonesia as part of a technology transfer program. The Nagapasa was commissioned in April 2017. The second ship of the class, the Ardadedali, was commissioned in April 2018.    
 
Indonesia—Deal Inked For 3 More S. Korean Subs Yonhap | 04/12/2019 Indonesia has signed a contract with South Korea for three more Nagapasa-class diesel-electric attack submarines, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).  Representatives from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and the Indonesian government signed the US$1.02 billion contract on Friday in Bandung, West Java. Indonesia finalized a US$1.08 billion contract with South Korea in 2011 for the first three submarines in the class, with two being built in South Korea and the third in domestically.  The contract starts immediately and will conclude in late 2026 said Daewoo, as quoted by IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. The fourth boat is expected to be built in South Korea, with PT PAL in Indonesia building two modules domestically. PT PAL will build four modules for the fifth and all six for the sixth, according to Jane's.  
 
Pakistan—20 Killed In Quetta Market Blast  Geo TV | 04/12/2019 At least 20 people have been killed and 48 wounded in an explosion in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, reports Geo TV (Karachi).  On Friday, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in the Hazar Ganji market in the city of Quetta, said police.  The explosive may have been hidden among bags of produce, reported Reuters. Baluchistan Home Minister Mir Zia Ullah Langau said that the initial investigation indicated that it was a suicide bombing and that it did not target any particular community.  Eight of the fatalities were members of the Hazara community, a mostly Shi'ite group in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. It has frequently been targeted by ISIS, the Taliban and other hardline Sunni groups.  At least one Frontier Corps paramilitary was killed in the explosion. Another four were wounded, noted the News International (Karachi).  Baluchistan Chief Minister Mir Jam Kamal Khan ordered security forces to step up their efforts across the province, reported Radio Pakistan.    
 
Afghanistan—Taliban Announces Beginning Of Spring Offensive TOLONews | 04/12/2019 The Taliban has announced its annual spring offensive, reports the Tolo News (Afghanistan).  On Friday, the militant group proclaimed the beginning of Operation Fath, which would target what it called foreign occupiers.  The spring offensive typically marks the start of the fighting season in Afghanistan after reduced operations in the winter. A spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry called the proclamation "mere propaganda." President Ashraf Ghani approved a new security plan on April 2 that focuses on improving the security of urban areas and highways.  The Taliban has been gaining ground against the government in Kabul over the last several years. According to a January report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Afghan government has control or influence over 53.8 percent of districts and 63.5 percent of the population.     
 
Afghanistan—Taliban Attacks Chardara District HQ Middle East North Africa Financial Network | 04/12/2019 The Taliban launched an attack on the headquarters of the Chardara district of the northern Kunduz province, killing at least eight police officers, reports the Middle East North Africa Financial Network. On Thursday, Taliban fighters ambushed security checkpoints around the headquarters, killing eight police officers and injuring 10, said local officials. Seven militants died and at least six were injured in the fighting, the officials said. The Taliban controls large parts of the Chardara district, noted Xinhua, China's state news agency. The Taliban launched a separate attack on a security checkpoint in the Waghaz district in the central Ghazni province, said a provincial spokesman cited by Devdiscourse (India).  Seven police officers were killed and two injured in an hours-long gun battle, the spokesman said.   Separately, Taliban fighters kidnapped 60 truck drivers on Thursday in the northern Samanghan province on a road linking the Dara-e-Suf district to Mazar-e-Sharif in the neighboring Balkh province, reported Xinhua. The drivers were taken to an unknown location. The truck drivers likely failed to pay the US$93 monthly tax imposed by the Taliban, a provincial official told the news agency. A search-and-rescue operation was launched.     
 
Egypt—11 Militants Killed In N. Sinai Op Middle East News Agency | 04/12/2019 At least 11 militants have been killed in a military operation in Egypt's restive North Sinai region, reports the Middle East News Agency (Egypt). On Thursday, security forces raided a militant position in a residential building in the Abu Eita district in Arish, said the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Eleven militants were killed in the resulting gunfight. No casualties among the security forces were reported. Two machine guns, five rifles, two explosive devices and two explosive belts were recovered during the operation. The militants had been planning a series of terrorist attacks targeting important properties and figures as well as security posts in Arish, the ministry said.    
 
Sudan—Head Of Military Government Says Bashir Will Not Be Extradited To ICC The Standard (Nairobi) | 04/12/2019 Sudan's interim military government says it will not extradite ousted President Omar Bashir to face charges in the International Criminal Court (ICC), reports the Standard (Kenya).  Bashir will not be extradited abroad under the current government, Lt. Gen. Omar Zain al-Abdin said on Friday. Abdin heads the political committee of the military council, which announced on Thursday that it was assuming power in what was widely seen as a military coup.  Bashir is wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and genocide for the campaign against insurgents in Darfur which killed 300,000 people, according to U.N. estimates cited by the Guardian (U.K.). The ousted president flouted the arrest warrant for years as he traveled to several countries that refused to extradite him.  Meanwhile, protesters continued their sit-in outside the army headquarters calling for the military to relinquish power to a transitional civilian government.   
 
Morocco—Defense Cooperation With Djibouti To Be Enhanced Xinhua | 04/12/2019 The armed forces of Morocco and Djibouti have agreed to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency. On Wednesday, Zakaria Sheikh Ibrahim, the chief of General Staff of the Djibouti armed forces, met with Fathallah El Ouarrak, the inspector general of the Moroccan army, for talks in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.  The leaders discussed ways to reinforce and implement a 2009 military-technical agreement, which calls for cooperation in areas such as training and exchanges. Morocco has been contributing to the development of Djibouti's Arta Interservices Military Academy and has been sending officers there to help train Djiboutian troops, noted the North Africa Post. Ibrahim is currently on a week-long visit to Morocco.    
 
Morocco—Defense Cooperation With Djibouti To Be Enhanced Xinhua | 04/12/2019 The armed forces of Morocco and Djibouti have agreed to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency. On Wednesday, Zakaria Sheikh Ibrahim, the chief of General Staff of the Djibouti armed forces, met with Fathallah El Ouarrak, the inspector general of the Moroccan army, for talks in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.  The leaders discussed ways to reinforce and implement a 2009 military-technical agreement, which calls for cooperation in areas such as training and exchanges. Morocco has been contributing to the development of Djibouti's Arta Interservices Military Academy and has been sending officers there to help train Djiboutian troops, noted the North Africa Post. Ibrahim is currently on a week-long visit to Morocco.    
 
Kenya—Al-Shabaab Suspected In Kidnapping Of Cuban Doctors Daily Nation (Kenya) | 04/12/2019 A police officer has been killed and two Cuban doctors have been kidnapped in northeastern Kenya, reports the Daily Nation (Nairobi).  The men were ambushed on Friday as they traveled to a hospital in Mandera, said police. The attackers used two cars to block the road and then shot and killed one of the two police officers who were escorting the doctors. The attackers then took the men across the border into Somalia, police said. The driver of the van transporting the doctors was detained for questioning, reported Reuters.  Troops have been dispatched to the area in an effort to locate the vehicles used in the attack.  The suspects were members of the Al-Qaida-affiliated Al-Shabaab militant group, a security source told Agence France-Presse.     
 
Democratic Republic of the Congo—Army Target Burundian Rebels In S. Kivu Province Agence France-Presse | 04/12/2019 The military in the Democratic Republic of Congo says it has killed 36 Burundian rebels in South Kivu province, which borders Burundi, reports Agence France-Presse.  The military announced on Thursday that it had concluded a three-day operation against the National Forces of Liberation (FNL) and Republican Forces of Burundi (FOREBU).  Two senior commanders were killed and FNL chief Aloys Nzabampema was wounded during the fighting.  Several areas previously held by rebels were returned to government control, reported Reuters.  Three soldiers were killed and four injured in the operation, said the military.  The FNL is a mainly Hutu group that fought in the Burundian civil war.  FOREBU is made up primarily of soldiers who defected from Burundian forces after a failed coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza in 2015.  The Congolese government has accused the groups of working with a local militia believed to be behind bloody attacks in the region.                                                                                   
 
 
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