Friday, December 28, 2012

This Day In Naval History - December 28 2012

From: Skip Leonard
Subject: The List 3266
Date: Friday, December 28, 2012, 12:24 PM

To All,
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year. Lots of tidbits.

This Day In Naval History - December 28
1867 - U.S. claims Midway Island, first territory annexed outside Continental limits.
1905 - Drydock Dewey left Solomon's Island, MD, enroute through the Suez Canal to the Philippines to serve as repair base. This, the longest towing job ever accomplished, was completed by Brutus, Caesar, and Glacier on 10 July 1906.
1941 - Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks requests that construction battalions be recruited.
1982 - Recommissioning of USS New Jersey (BB-62), the first of four Iowa-class battleships that were returned to service in 1980s.
1990 - LCDR Darlene M. Iskra becomes commander of USS Opportune, a salvage vessel.
1990 - USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS America (CV-66) Carrier Battle Groups deploy from Norfolk, VA, for Middle East to join Operation Desert Shield.
This Day In Naval History - December 29
1798 - First annual report by Secretary of the Navy, sent by Benjamin Stoddert.
1812 - USS Constitution (Captain William Bainbridge) captures HMS Java off Brazil after a three hour battle.
1943 - USS Silversides (SS-236) sinks three Japanese ships and damages a fourth off Palau.
This Day In Naval History - December 30
1941 - Admiral Ernest J. King assumes duty as Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
1959 - Commissioning of first fleet ballistic missile submarine, USS George Washington (SSB(N)-598), at Groton, CT.
This Day In Naval History - December 31
1862 - USS Monitor founders in a storm off Cape Hatteras, NC.
1941 - Admiral Chester W. Nimitz assumes command of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
1942 - Commissioning of USS Essex (CV-9), first of new class of aircraft carriers, at Norfolk, VA
1948 - Last annual report by a Secretary of the Navy to Congress and the President filed by SECNAV John L. Sullivan. Thereafter the Secretary of Defense would report annually to Congress.
This Day In Naval History - January 1
1950 - Mary T. Sproul commissioned as first female doctor in Navy
1959 - U.S. Naval Observatory introduces system of uniform atomic time using cesium beam atomic oscillators. This measurement has been adopted as standard by the International Committee on Weights and Measures.
1962 - Navy SEAL teams established
This Day In Naval History - January 2
1969 - Operation Barrier Reef began in Mekong Delta, Vietnam
This Week in American Military History
Dec. 26, 1944:  Elements of the U.S. 4th Armored Division – the spearhead of Gen. George S. Patton Jr.'s Third Army – break the German Army's siege of Bastogne relieving the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division.
The grateful but proud Airborne soldiers insist they are only being "relieved," not "rescued."

Dec. 30-31, 1968:  U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Sergeant First Class Robert L. Howard is operating deep in the South Vietnamese backcountry (some sources say Cambodia) when suddenly his 40-man hatchet platoon is attacked by a force of some 250 North Vietnamese soldiers.
As the attack unfolds, Howard and his lieutenant are struck by an exploding claymore. Howard is knocked unconscious. He comes to, but with blood in his eyes, he initially believes he has been blinded. Momentarily he can see, but he quickly realizes his body is riddled with shrapnel, his weapon is destroyed, and the enemy is all around him.
Howard manages to toss a grenade at an enemy soldier who is burning the bodies of Howard's dead comrades with a flamethrower. Howard then crawls under heavy fire to his wounded lieutenant, and drags the officer toward a position of relative safety. Howard survives a second blast when his lieutenant's ammunition pouch is struck and detonates. Despite his shredded hands, Howard manages to shoot several enemy soldiers with a pistol. He is then shot in the foot and no longer able to walk. Nevertheless, he organizes what's left of the platoon into a defensive position, then crawls from one man to the next, tending to the wounded and dying, shouting encouragement to the living and fighting, and directing airstrikes on the attacking enemy. Though surrounded, Howard successfully repels attack-after-attack, saves his platoon, and ultimately receives the Medal of Honor.
Retired as a colonel in 1992, Howard is the only soldier to be nominated three times for the Medal of Honor for three separate actions over a period of just over a year.
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: The great Col. Bob Howard passed away, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009.
In addition to visiting American troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere throughout 2009, he frequently found time to email, often thanking us for our weekly military history updates.]
Jan. 1, 1962:  U.S. Navy SEAL Teams "One" and "Two" are established.
Born of the Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams, America's SEALs (an acronym for the three realms – SEa, Air, Land – in which SEALs operate) have evolved over the past 48 years to become some of the most respected and feared commandos in the world. Though most of their work is classified, SEALs are involved in almost every operational aspect of the global war on terror.

Item Number:1 Date: 12/27/2012 AFGHANISTAN - APPARENTLY BETRAYED BY A COMRADE, POLICE KILLED BY TALIBAN (DEC 27/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Four Afghan police officers have been killed and two wounded by the Taliban, reports Agence France-Presse.   An insider loyal to the Taliban is believed to have helped in Thursday's attack.   Before dawn, attackers stormed a police post in Trin Kot district of southern Uruzgan province while the officers slept, officials said.   An officer who fled with the insurgents is believed to have been a Taliban infiltrator, said security officials.   "He had called them to attack while the other policemen were sleeping," a police spokesman said.   One insurgent was wounded during the attack and later captured, said a provincial spokesman.
Item Number:2 Date: 12/27/2012 CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - ANOTHER REGIONAL CAPITAL FALLS TO REBELS (DEC 27/UPI)  UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL -- A day after saying they would halt military operations, rebel fighters in the Central African Republic have seized another regional capital, reports UPI.   The newly formed group known as Seleka moved into Kaga-Bandoro on Tuesday, said security officials.   Seleka has taken about 10 towns, including four regional centers this month, reported the Voice of America News.   The group's fighters are believed to be within 200 miles of Bangui, the national capital.   The rebels say they want President Francois Bozize to honor peace accords signed in 2007 and 2011.
Item Number:3 Date: 12/27/2012 CHINA - BEIJING BERATES PRESENCE OF JAPANESE FIGHTERS OVER DISPUTED ISLANDS (DEC 27/REU)  REUTERS -- Chinese officials say their forces are "highly vigilant" concerning Japanese warplane flights over a series of disputed islands, Reuters reports.   Since Dec. 13, Japan has scrambled jet fighters multiple times to intercept Chinese patrol planes approaching the islands. The islets are known as the Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan.   Beijing insists its flights are legitimate missions in undisputed Chinese airspace.   Tokyo must bear responsibility for any consequences that may ensue, Chinese military and maritime officials said on Thursday.   The Japanese government has been administering the islands and purchased three of them from a private owner over the summer, sparking protests in China.
Item Number:4 Date: 12/27/2012 INDIA - MOSCOW ASKED TO FIX INDIAN NAVY'S LEASED SUBMARINE (DEC 27/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- The Indian navy's only nuclear submarine, now being leased from Russia, is suffering a number of problems, say sources cited by the Press Trust of India.   INS Chakra, an Akula-class boat known as Nerpa in Russia service, was inducted into the Indian navy in April at the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command.   As noted by RIA Novosti, the sub is being leased for 10 years under a US$900 million contract signed in January 2004.   The submarine has had problems with unspecified critical components, navy sources said. Russia has reportedly been asked to provide replacement parts.   A gas leak on the boat during sea trials in 2008 killed 20 sailors, noted UPI
Item Number:5 Date: 12/27/2012 IRAN - BACK-TO-BACK NAVAL MANEUVERS PLANNED (DEC 27/XIN)  XINHUA -- The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is in the midst of naval exercises in the Persian Gulf, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The four-day Fajr 91 (Dawn 91) drills began Tuesday in the South Pars gas field, according to Iran's Press TV.   The exercise is designed to test defensive capabilities in the region and will include simulations of land, land-to-sea and commando missions, said an IRGC commander.   Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, commander of the Iranian navy, announced on Tuesday that a six-day naval drill would start on Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and north of the Indian Ocean. The drill is dubbed Velayat 91 (Guardianship 91
Item Number:6 Date: 12/27/2012 IRAN - PARCHIN SITE OPENING OFFERED BY TEHRAN (DEC 27/REU)  REUTERS -- The Iranian government says it will allow U.N. nuclear inspectors into its Parchin military facility if international threats against the country are dropped, Reuters reports.   The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suspects Iran conducted explosives tests with possible nuclear applications at Parchin. It has long been denied access to the site.   "If the trans-regional threats [against Iran] dissipate, then they will find it possible to visit Parchin," Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi said Wednesday, a possible reference to a threatened Israeli strike.   Iran has been accused of carrying out extensive work over the past year to cleanse Parchin of any evidence of illicit activities.   IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has indicated that a visit to Parchin would still be "useful."
Item Number:7 Date: 12/27/2012 ISRAEL - WEST BANK TERROR CELL PLANNED ABDUCTIONS, SAYS SHIN BET (DEC 27/YNET)  YNET NEWS -- The Israeli domestic security agency has announced the arrests of members of a terror cell in the West Bank, reports Ynet News (Israel).   Two suspected members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) were recently arrested in Ramallah, Shin Bet and other officials announced this week.   The suspects reportedly confessed to plotting to kidnap an Israeli to use as a bargaining chip for the release of PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat, who is serving a 30-year prison sentence, according to official records.   The PFLP terrorists said they planned either to capture an Israeli soldier in an attack on a military unit, or kidnap an Israeli civilian hitchhiking in the West Bank, Israeli officials said.   The probe by Shin Bet, police and the military also led to the arrests of eight other PFLP operatives, said the agency
Item Number:8 Date: 12/27/2012 KOSOVO - PLANS SET FOR SMALL ARMY (DEC 27/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- Government officials in Kosovo say they plan to create a small army ahead of a bid to join NATO, Stars & Stripes reports.   As part of the effort, the Balkan nation plans to convert an existing 2,500-strong civil protection force into its military, officials said.   "We have to produce security, not consume security," said Rexhep Selimi, a member of the Kosovo assembly committee that oversees the current force. "That's why we want to finish our job as soon as possible, so we can join NATO."   Kosovo officials say they envision a small force developed to NATO standards and deployable for specialized capabilities.   The current law on the civil force opens to restructuring in June 2013.
Item Number:9 Date: 12/27/2012 MALI - AQIM WARNS FRANCE AGAINST INTERVENTION, THREATENS HOSTAGES (DEC 27/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- An Al-Qaida-linked group says France is endangering the lives of a half-dozen hostages if it were to intervene in Mali, reports the Washington Post.   Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, an Algerian who leads the most active of three squads of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), issued the threat in a video posted online on Tuesday.   Four French technicians were kidnapped by Abu Zeid's group at a uranium mining center in northern Niger in September 2010. A pair of French geologists were grabbed by the group a year later in Mali.   A seventh hostage was seized last month in Mali by the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, an AQIM spinoff. This month, a French technician was abducted in northern Nigeria by another Islamist group called Ansaru.   The U.N. Security Council has recently approved a French-sponsored resolution authorizing military intervention in northern Mali by African soldiers.   About 3,300 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops are expected to be trained and commanded by French officers. A French general has been tapped to lead the mission
Item Number:10 Date: 12/27/2012 PAKISTAN - TERRORIST GROUP TTP WILLING TO TALK, BUT NOT WITH RESTRICTIVE CONDITIONS (DEC 27/DAWN)  DAWN -- The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claims to be prepared to engage in "meaningful" dialogue with the Pakistani government, reports the Dawn (Pakistan).   The terrorist group has always been ready for negotiations, according to a TTP spokesman.   The spokesman said the government in Islamabad was ruled by "foreign dictates."   In a letter addressed to the government of Pakistan, the TTP spokesman said that certain political parties could be granted amnesty if they apologized for and altered their "wrong" policies.   The ANP's political party chief said talks were possible if the TTP renounced violence.   Such "terms and conditions" were unacceptable, the spokesman said
Item Number:11 Date: 12/27/2012 RUSSIA - CLERIC SHOT IN N. OSSETIA (DEC 27/VOR)  VOICE OF RUSSIA -- Unidentified gunmen have killed an Islamic cleric in the Russian North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia, reports the Voice of Russia.   Ibragim Dudarov, an outspoken critic of religious extremism who is the region's deputy mufti, was shot multiple times in the head Wednesday evening near his home, said officials.   This was at least the sixth killing of an Islamic cleric in Russia this year, reported Reuters
Item Number:12 Date: 12/27/2012 RUSSIA - MISTRAL SHIP ORDER STILL IN FORCE, THOUGH FACING EVALUATION (DEC 27/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Mistral ship order in Russia is still planned, despite reports to the contrary, say defense officials.   The Russian Defense Ministry has indicated there has been no decision yet on final plans for building two Mistral-class helicopter carriers at Russian shipyards, reports Interfax-AVN.   Russia ordered two Mistral ships from France in 2011, with deliveries scheduled for 2014 and 2015.   Once those ships are commissioned and evaluated, a decision on two more under license will be made, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said Wednesday.   The Russian business daily Vedomosti last Friday cited a government source who said that plans had been scrapped to build the third and fourth Mistral ships in Russia.
Item Number:13 Date: 12/27/2012 RUSSIA - SELIGER RESEARCH SHIP JOINS NAVY (DEC 27/RIAN)  RUSSIAN INFORMATION AGENCY NEWS -- The Russian navy has taken delivery of a new deep-sea research and search-and-rescue vessel, RIA Novosti reports.   The Project 11982 Seliger was delivered on Tuesday at the JSC Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, said shipyard officials.   The ship will be part of the Black Sea Fleet and used for deep-sea research, search and rescue operations and equipment tests, officials said.   The Defense Ministry ordered the ship in February 2009; it was floated out in July 2011 and completed sea trials in November 2012
Item Number:14 Date: 12/27/2012 RUSSIA - WARSHIPS GOING TO MED FOR NAVAL DRILLS, SAYS MINISTER (DEC 27/VOR)  VOICE OF RUSSIA -- Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov says about a dozen Russian warships heading to the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aden for naval exercises, reports the Voice of Russia.   Groups of ships from Russia's Northern, Pacific, Baltic and Black Sea fleets will conduct anti-aircraft, anti-surface ship and anti-submarine warfare drills, military officials said this week.   The ships will dock at several foreign ports, including Tartus, Syria, reported UPI.   The Baltic Fleet ships will relieve an anti-piracy task force from the Black Sea Fleet, reported RIA Novosti.   On Monday, Antonov dismissed media accounts that the ships were carrying commando units and air defense missile operators to Syria.   "This part of the world's oceans is very important from the point of view of Russia's geopolitical interests, including the fact that the Russian navy has a logistical base [in Syria]," a member of the General Staff said Tuesday.
Item Number:15 Date: 12/27/2012 SOMALIA - GOVERNMENT TROOPS MAKE 'STRATEGIC' RETREAT FROM BULO-GUDUD (DEC 27/GAROWE)  GAROWE ONLINE -- Government troops have withdrawn from the Somali town of Bulo-Gudud in the Lower Jubba region, Garowe Online (Puntland, Somalia) reports.   The town, located just north of the port city of Kismayo, was recently cleared of Al-Shabaab fighters.   Troops said they withdrew on Tuesday for "strategic reasons." Some reports suggest Al-Shabaab fighters had returned to Bulo-Gudud.   Somali forces will return in a few days, said military officials
Item Number:16 Date: 12/27/2012 SOUTH KOREA - SEOUL LOOKS AT OTHER U.S. UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (DEC 27/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- South Korean officials say the RQ-4 Global Hawk is not the only surveillance drone it is considering for purchase from the U.S., reports Agence France-Presse.   The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced a potential sale this week of four Global Hawks to South Korea for US$1.2 billion.   The high price tag led to complaints in Seoul.   Officials from the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said they would decide early next year whether to buy the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 or another UAV, such as Boeing's Phantom Eye (Phantom Ray's big brother) or the California-based AeroVironment Global Observer.   "Negotiations would have to start anywhere below 800 billion won (US$745 million) in total, as was suggested by the U.S. side last October," a top government official told Yonhap News in Seoul.
Item Number:17 Date: 12/27/2012 SUDAN - DARFUR REBELS REPORT SEIZING TOWN FROM GOVERNMENT (DEC 27/RADDABANGA)  RADIO DABANGA -- Rebels in Darfur say they have taken control of a Sudanese government base, reports Radio Dabanga (Netherlands).   Dozens of people were reported killed Sunday at the military base in Golo in the West Jebel Marra area.   On Monday, the rebels said they had seized the base, leaving Sudanese troops with only two strongholds in the area: Derbat and Rokero.   A rebel spokesman said 90 soldiers were killed and 15 trucks were captured with the base, UPI reported.   Locals reported Sudanese government airstrikes against the base on Monday.
Item Number:18 Date: 12/27/2012 SUDAN - FIGHTING, MILITARY BUILDUP REPORTED ON BORDER WITH S. SUDAN (DEC 27/RADDABANGA)  RADIO DABANGA -- Clashes have been renewed between Sudan and South Sudan along their shared border, reports Radio Dabanga (Netherlands).   Local witnesses reported fighting on Wednesday in the Warguet area along the River Kiir. Casualty accounts vary, with eight to 28 deaths and as many as 50 wounded being reported.   South Sudan controls the area, claiming it as part of Northern Bahr al Ghazal region. Sudan says it is part of its state of East Darfur.   Local tribesmen say both sides continue to build up their forces in the area
Item Number:19 Date: 12/27/2012 TURKEY - PENTAGON AGREES TO SALE OF SIDEWINDER MISSILES (DEC 27/TREND)  TREND NEWS AGENCY -- Turkey is seeking 117 air-to-air AIM-9X-2 Block II Sidewinder missiles from the United States, reports Trend (Azerbaijan).   The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on Monday it has notified the U.S. Congress of the possible missile sale, which was valued at US$140 million, UPI noted.   The missiles will be used to strengthen Turkey's air defense capabilities, said the agency.   Delivery of the first batch is expected in the coming months if Congress does not block the sale
Item Number:20 Date: 12/27/2012 UKRAINE - INTERIOR MINISTRY HELICOPTER CRASHES IN KIROVOGRAD; 5 DIE (DEC 27/INT-UKR)  INTERFAX-UKRAINE -- A Ukrainian Interior Ministry Mi-8 helicopter has crashed in the Kirovograd region, reports Interfax-Ukraine.   All five on the helicopter died Tuesday, said officials. There were three crew members and two engineers on board, reported the BBC.   The aircraft went down soon after taking off from the Oleksandria airfield, said the ministry.   An investigation has been launched.
Item Number:21 Date: 12/27/2012 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SAUDI-EMIRATI CELL BUSTED (DEC 27/BLOOMBERG)  BLOOMBERG NEWS -- A terrorist cell of Emiratis and Saudis has been foiled by the United Arab Emirates, with help from Saudi authorities, reports Bloomberg News.   The arrests in the U.A.E. were announced on Wednesday, reported AFP.   Members of the group had obtained equipment and materials to carry out attacks in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and "other brother countries," U.A.E. officials said.   Those arrested were described as members of a "deviant group" linked to Al-Qaida
Item Number:22 Date: 12/27/2012 USA - STEALTH AIRCRAFT BEEF UP FORCE WITHIN RANGE OF CHINA (DEC 27/WIRED.COM)  WIRED.COM -- The United States is deploying its stealth aircraft to three bases near China, according to announcements in recent weeks cited by's Danger Room blog.   Within five years, Air Force F-22s and B-2s and Marine Corps F-35s are expected to be within striking range of China.   Several new deployments have been announced of F-22s and B-2s to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the Kadena base in Okinawa.   Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last week that F-35s -- likely the short-takeoff, vertical-landing B variant -- will be deployed to Iwakuni, Japan, in 2017.   Along with the stealth fighters, F-15s, F-16s, A-10s, UAVs and other aircraft will be eventually based in the Pacific region as part of the Pentagon's announced "strategic pivot," summarized the blog
Item Number:23 Date: 12/27/2012 USA - SYRIAN OFFICIAL REPORTEDLY DEFECTS, SAID TO BE COOPERATING WITH WASHINGTON (DEC 27/GUARDIAN)  GUARDIAN -- A former spokesman for Syria's Foreign Ministry has fled the country and is cooperating with U.S. intelligence agents, reports the Guardian (U.K.).   Jihad Makdissi reportedly fled to Beirut from Syria in late November with the help of U.S. officials apparently seeking asylum.   For the past month, Makdissi has been providing intelligence to officials in Washington, sources said.   Syrian officials have denied that Makdissi defected, saying he had taken three months of administrative leave.   The U.S. State Dept. declined comment, reported Haaretz (Israel).
Item Number:24 Date: 12/27/2012 YEMEN - AQAP FIGHTERS HIT BY U.S. DRONES (DEC 27/YP)  YEMEN POST -- Five suspected members of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have been killed in U.S. drone strikes this week in Yemen, reports the Yemen Post.   On Monday, a drone fired missiles at a vehicle in eastern Hadramout province's Samoun district, killing three militants, said a security source.   Separately, a U.S. strike in Radda in Bayda province reportedly killed two Al-Qaida operatives from Yemen and Jordan and wounded three others.   The Yemeni AQAP agent was identified as Abdullah Hussein al Waeli, who was wanted after a jailbreak two years ago, reported the U.S.-based Long War Journal (LWJ).   The LWJ reports that the U.S. has carried out 40 strikes against AQAP in Yemen in 2012.


Item Number:1 Date: 12/28/2012 AUSTRALIA - WAR GAMES WITH CHINA BEING PLANNED (DEC 28/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Australia and China are considering joint military exercises in the near future, reports Agence France-Presse.   Military leaders have discussed joint exercises "in principle," Gen. David Hurley, the Australian defense chief, told the Australian newspaper on Thursday. The drills are "on the short-term horizon," he added.   The exercises might include American forces, said the general.   The U.S. has been boosting its naval presence in the Asia-Pacific region and is deploying up to 2,500 Marines to northern Australia.   Earlier this month, three Chinese navy ships returning from counter-piracy operations off the coast of Africa docked in Sydney to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations with Australia. More such visits are expected, said Hurley.
Item Number:2 Date: 12/28/2012 CANADA - OTTAWA DROPS MEK FROM BLACKLIST, ADDS IRANIAN QUDS FORCE (DEC 28/CNP)  NATIONAL POST -- Without fanfare, Canada has removed the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) from its list of terrorist entities, even as it added another Iranian group, reports the National Post (Toronto).   Tehran blasted Ottawa for delisting MEK on Dec. 20 while simultaneously affixing terrorist status to the Quds Force, a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.   Iran called this "a dangerous move that can weaken international peace and security."   The MEK was designated by Canada due to a series of attacks against U.S. interests in the 1970s. It opposes the current regime in Iran.   Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran in September.   The U.S. State Dept. has also recently removed the MEK from its list of foreign terrorist organizations
Item Number:3 Date: 12/28/2012 CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - REBELS KEEP ADVANCING, PRESIDENT SEEKS HELP, U.S. EVACUATES EMBASSY (DEC 28/RTTN)  REALTIME TRADERS NEWS -- The United States has shut its embassy in the Central African Republic (CAR) as rebel fighters get closer to the capital, reports RTT News.   The U.S. Embassy in Bangui was temporarily closed on Friday. Officials in Washington stressed that diplomatic relations had not been cut.   Ambassador Lawrence Wohlers, his diplomatic team and several private U.S. citizens left Bangui after the embassy suspended operations, said State Dept. officials.   State also issued a travel warning urging U.S. citizens against travel to the CAR at this time.   A new rebel group called Seleka has captured at least 10 towns this month, including four regional capitals.   On Thursday, President Francois Bozize asked for help from France and the U.S. to stave off the advance, reported CNN.
Item Number:4 Date: 12/28/2012 EGYPT - MUBARAK MOVED TO MILITARY HOSPITAL (DEC 28/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- State media in Egypt are reporting that former President Hosni Mubarak has been transferred to a military hospital, according to CNN.   Mubarak is serving a life sentence in Cairo's Tora prison for his role in the killing of anti-government demonstrators.   He was ousted in 2011.   Mubarak reportedly suffered a head injury and a bruised chest when he slipped in a prison hospital bathroom this month.   Egypt's state prosecutor ordered the transfer, but gave no update on Mubarak's condition otherwise
Item Number:5 Date: 12/28/2012 INDIA - LET SUSPECTED IN KASHMIR CLASH (DEC 28/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- Three deaths have been reported in fighting between Indian security forces and suspected militants in the Indian-administered region of Kashmir, according to Al Jazeera (Qatar).   A police officer and two militants were killed late Monday near the village of Dodhiporao, said security officials. One Indian soldier was also reported wounded.   The fighters likely belonged to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), said police on Tuesday
Item Number:6 Date: 12/28/2012 IRAN - WEST LOOKS FOR MEANING IN SLOWED PACE OF IRAN'S URANIUM ENRICHMENT EFFORTS (DEC 28/NYT)  NEW YORK TIMES -- Western and U.S. officials say that Iran's slower efforts to enrich uranium may be a signal that it wants a deal, reports the New York Times.   Last summer, Tehran began diverting a significant portion of its medium-enriched uranium for use in a small research reactor, analysts said.   The 20-percent-enriched uranium was converted into an oxide powder beginning in August, said officials.   The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimated that if Iran had not diverted fuel to that project, Tehran would have enough fuel for one bomb and would be close to enough for a second.   This slowdown amounted to trying to "put more time on the clock to solve this," said a U.S. official. He added: "you have to assume [this] was highly calculated, because everything the Iranians do in a negotiation is highly calculated."
Item Number:7 Date: 12/28/2012 MAURITANIA - BRITON ARRESTED, REPORTEDLY SOUGHT TO JOIN MALI ISLAMISTS (DEC 28/IANS)  INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE -- Mauritanian security forces have detained a 30-year-old British man attempting to join armed Islamist groups in Mali, reports the Indo-Asian News Service.   Ahmed Chahine was first seen in the historic oasis town of Oualata in southeast Mauritania, where he said he was a researcher, officials said.   He was later reported by travelers to be in Nema in the east, where he was detained by security officers, said officials.   Chahine reportedly confessed that he planned to go to Timbuktu in northern Mali to join fighters allied with Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM
Item Number:8 Date: 12/28/2012 MEXICO - DRUG CARTEL VIOLENCE PROVES DEADLY (DEC 28/LP)  LATINOS POST -- Fighting between rival drug cartels in Mexico has taken the lives of nine people, reports Latinos Post.   Gunmen shot and killed nine men in their home in the western state of Sinaloa on Christmas Eve, officials said.   The killings grew from territorial disputes between "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel and the Beltran-Leyva cartel, which is allied with the Zetas, said Mexican security officials on Wednesday.   In separate incidents, drug-related violence in southern Mexico has left at least seven people dead since Sunday on the border of Jalisco and Michoacan states, officials said Wednesday.
Item Number:9 Date: 12/28/2012 NIGERIA - BOKO HARAM LINKED TO VIOLENCE IN KADUNA, MAIDUGURI, ELSEWHERE (DEC 28/LEADERSHIP)  LEADERSHIP -- Nigerian troops and Boko Haram fighters have clashed repeatedly in the country's north, reports the Leadership (Nigeria).   Troops killed five suspected sect members and wounded two others during a Thursday firefight in Kaduna, said security officials.   Elsewhere, security forces reportedly foiled a planned Boko Haram attack in the capital of Abuja.   Meanwhile, in Plateau state, gunmen stormed villages near Jos and killed six people, said officials.   In yet another incident, suspected Boko Haram members killed eight people on Thursday in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and the group's main base, reported the Vanguard (Nigeria
Item Number:10 Date: 12/28/2012 NORTH KOREA - PYONGYANG LIKELY LIED AHEAD OF ROCKET LAUNCH, SAYS U.S. OFFICIAL (DEC 28/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- North Korea was probably engaged in a campaign of deception ahead of its Dec. 12 rocket launch, says an unnamed U.S. official cited by CNN.   Shortly before the expected launch, Pyongyang announced that technical problems would delay liftoff.   The United States and other governments were caught "off guard" when the rocket was launched days later, said a U.S. official.   Since North Korea knows when spy satellites are overhead, it manipulated the launch preparations so that it appeared that parts were being removed, said the official.   The announcement of technical problems was probably a lie, said the official.
Item Number:11 Date: 12/28/2012 NORTH KOREA - S. KOREAN NAVY RECOVERS PIECE OF ROCKET ENGINE (DEC 28/AAP)  AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS -- South Korean military personnel have recovered a piece of the engine of the long-range rocket launched by North Korea this month, the Australian Associated Press reports.   Navy ships have retrieved six chunks of debris from the rocket that was launched on Dec. 12, said a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman on Friday.   A piece of the engine would be "useful for analyzing North Korea's missile technology," the spokesman said.   While Pyongyang maintains that the launch was a scientific mission, it was widely viewed elsewhere as a thinly disguised ballistic missile test
Item Number:12 Date: 12/28/2012 PAKISTAN - MILITANTS ATTACK CHECKPOINTS, KIDNAP PARAMILITARIES (DEC 28/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- At least 22 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers have been abducted in the country's northwest, the Voice of America News reports.   Dozens of heavily armed militants stormed checkpoints early Thursday near Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Pakistani officials.   Two paramilitaries were killed in the coordinated attacks, said officials.   There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Item Number:13 Date: 12/28/2012 PHILIPPINES - NAVY BUYS 3 AW109 HELICOPTERS; AIR FORCE GETS ANOTHER C-130 (DEC 28/XIN)  XINHUA -- The Philippine government is purchasing three AgustaWestland AW109 Power multi-purpose helicopters, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The contract, worth 1.33 billion pesos (US$32.3 million), was signed last week by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, the Defense Dept. announced this Thursday.   The helicopters were obtained under an emergency procurement program and will join the navy, reported Agence France-Presse.   Separately, a locally refurbished C-130 cargo plane will enter service with the Philippine air force on Friday at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City in metropolitan Manila, reported InterAksyon (Philippines).   This will be the third transport plane to become operational under the 579 million peso (US$14 million) rebuilding effort
Item Number:14 Date: 12/28/2012 QATAR - ROCKETS, MISSILES, HUMVEES SOUGHT FROM U.S. (DEC 28/DSCA)  U.S. DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY -- The Qatari government is seeking to strengthen its military with U.S. artillery and vehicles.   The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible deals last week.   According to the agency, Qatar requested seven M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, 60 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Block 1A T2K unitary rocket pods and 360 M31A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) unitary rocket pods, as well as practice rockets and training systems.   Also ordered were two M1151A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) and two M1152A2 HMMWVs, said the agency release.   The estimated cost is US$406 million. The prime contractor would be Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, Texas
Item Number:15 Date: 12/28/2012 RUSSIA - AIR FORCE GETS INITIAL SU-35S FIGHTERS (DEC 28/RIAN)  RUSSIAN INFORMATION AGENCY NEWS -- The Russian air force has taken delivery of its first six Su-35S jet fighters, reports RIA Novosti.   Aircraft maker Sukhoi delivered the jets on Friday at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East, said officials.   "The fighter jets will fly to their designated home base in the near future," a company statement said.   The Su-35 has been described as a "4++ generation fighter using fifth-generation technology."
Item Number:16 Date: 12/28/2012 RUSSIA - MOD MOVES AHEAD WITH EARLY WARNING RADAR PLANS (DEC 28/INT-AVN)  INTERFAX-MILITARY NEWS AGENCY -- The Russian Defense Ministry has decided to build new radar stations for its early warning missile system, reports Interfax-AVN.   Construction is planned for 2013 in Yeniseisk, Krasnoyarsk, and Barnaul, Altai, as well as elsewhere along the border, said Col. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko on Thursday.   A radar station in Armavir will begin operating as soon as ongoing trials conclude, said the deputy defense minister.   The missile warning system is currently set to be finished by 2018
Item Number:17 Date: 12/28/2012 SYRIA - 2 AIR FORCE GENERALS DEFECT TO TURKEY (DEC 28/DAILYSTAR)  DAILY STAR -- A pair of Syrian air force generals have defected to Turkey, reports the Daily Star (Lebanon).   The unidentified officers were "regional Syrian air force commanders" who are now in a Turkish camp for military defectors, said the Foreign Ministry on Friday.   Meanwhile, rebel fighters are attacking the military air base of Mannagh, which is near Syria's border with Turkey, according to multiple accounts
Item Number:18 Date: 12/28/2012 TUNISIA - ALGERIA'S INTERIOR MINISTER AGREES TO BORDER SECURITY PACT (DEC 28/MAGH)  MAGHAREBIA -- Officials from Tunisia and Algeria have signed a border security agreement in the hopes of countering the influence of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), reports Magharebia (Washington, D.C.).   The deal was signed on Monday during a visit to Tunis by Algerian Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia. He met with Tunisian interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Interior Minister Ali Larayedh.   The parties discussed coordinating security action "against terrorism, trafficking and illegal immigration," Ould Kablia said.   Tunisian authorities recently thwarted an attempt to establish an AQIM cell aimed at launching attacks at both nations
Item Number:19 Date: 12/28/2012 TURKEY - PKK TARGETS STRUCK ACROSS BORDER IN IRAQ (DEC 28/HUR)  HURRIYET -- Turkish air force F-16s have bombed positions in northern Iraq manned by Kurdish separatists, reports Hurriyet Daily News.   The planes took off shortly before midnight on Wednesday and hit Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in Iraq's Kandil and Zap regions, said Turkish officials.   The attacks were launched after PKK members were spotted by UAVs as the Kurds returned to previously bombed areas.   A number of PKK shelters were hit, said officials
Item Number:20 Date: 12/28/2012 UGANDA - FIGHTING IN CAR COMPLICATING EFFORTS AGAINST KONY, SAYS MILITARY (DEC 28/OBSERVER)  OBSERVER -- Ugandan army officials say fighting in the Central African Republic (CAR) has frustrated the effort to find Joseph Kony, head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), reports the Observer (Kampala).   The Seleka rebel group has been reported as close as 75 km (46 mi) to the CAR capital of Bangui.   If the rebels were to take the CAR and demand Ugandan troops leave the country, the army would be forced to do so, a Ugandan military spokesman said.   Senior LRA commanders are thought to operate out of eastern CAR and the disputed Kafia Kingi enclave on the border between Sudan and South Sudan.   Troops from Uganda and the CAR are part of an African Union force hunting for the remnants of the LRA.   Kony and his men are known to have used the CAR as a base
Item Number:21 Date: 12/28/2012 USA - AIR FORCE TRAINING FACILITY OPENS IN WYO. (DEC 28/USAF)  U.S. AIR FORCE -- The U.S. Air Force has opened the new Nuclear Security Tactics Training Center in Wyoming.   The 20th Air Force, which is headquartered at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., has been building the $4.2 million Camp Guernsey since 2004, said a service release.   The training center has 14,500 square feet of functional space for training classrooms where 400 airmen can learn how to safely transport nuclear weapons, said service officials.   The 620th Ground Combat Training Squadron will run the facility.
Item Number:22 Date: 12/28/2012 USA - ARMY UNITS BEING SENT THROUGHOUT AFRICA (DEC 28/RT)  RUSSIA TODAY -- The U.S. Army may soon have troops in up to 35 African countries, reports RT (Russia).   The 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kansas, will help train local troops to counter terrorist influences in Africa, U.S. defense officials have announced.   Teams may be sent to Algeria, Kenya, Libya, Niger, Somalia and Sudan, U.S. officials have suggested.   The brigade will begin training in March 2013 for the mission, which will consist of training and equipping, according to Gen. David Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Army Forces Command.
Item Number:23 Date: 12/28/2012 USA - FEWER DRONE STRIKES IN PAKISTANI IN 2012, WHILE ATTACKS IN YEMEN INCREASE (DEC 28/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Attacks by U.S. unmanned aircraft have been on the rise in Yemen and becoming less frequent in northwest Pakistan, according to a compilation cited by Agence France-Presse.   In Pakistan, there were 46 strikes in 2012, compared to 72 in 2011 and 122 in 2010, according to statistics gathered by the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.   These strikes, most in North Waziristan, killed between 189 and 308 militants and at least seven civilians, says the analysis.   Strikes against Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen rose from 18 in 2011 to 53 in 2012, said the foundation. An estimated 397-539 militants were killed in these attacks.   Some strikes in Yemen were conducted by manned U.S. aircraft, the foundation noted
Item Number:24 Date: 12/28/2012 USA - JAPAN-BASED MARINE BRIGADE NAMED COMMAND ELEMENT FOR ASIA-PACIFIC (DEC 28/USMC)  UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS -- The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade has been designated as the command element for the alert contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force in the Asia-Pacific region.   The command element must be able to respond within 24 hours to mitigate foreign or domestic crises, protect U.S. citizens and territories or counter threats to national interests as needed, notes a Marine Corps release.   The brigade is headquartered at Camp Courtney in Japan.   The unit has participated in several exercises in the Asia-Pacific region since being reactivated in December 2011.

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