17 April 2020 Military News
- Gunmen Kill Six Local Contractors Near Main U.S. Base In Afghanistan RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- Gunmen have shot dead six local contractors who worked at the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
- Taliban Says It Released 20 More Afghan Government Prisoners RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- The Taliban says it has released a second group of Afghan security forces it has been holding captive as part of a delayed swap considered key to paving the way for peace talks between the two sides.
- Corps of Engineers Takes On 28 COVID-19 Bed Facilities DoD News 17 Apr 2020 -- The Army Corps of Engineers is on Day 35 of building 28 alternate-care facilities with about 15,800 beds, Army Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, said today.
- Army Ramps Up COVID-19 Testing DoD News 17 Apr 2020 -- With nearly 1,000 soldiers now tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Army is continuing to ramp up its testing efforts, particularly for new recruits at training posts.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Navy Conducting Public Health Outbreak Investigation on USS Theodore Roosevelt NNS 17 Apr 2020 -- As the US Navy continues to work to fully understand the outbreak onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are planning to conduct a COVID-19 public health outbreak investigation with volunteers from the crew.
- US Navy Orders 15 Hovercraft Costing $386 Million for Marine Landing Forces Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- Textron has won a more than $386 million US Navy order to build 15 new landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) or hovercraft to carry Marine Corps troops ashore, the Department of Defence said in a press release.
- US Quietly Withdraws All Bombers From Guam, No Replacements in Sight Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- The US Air Force has quietly ended its 16-year-long continuous bomber deployment to the western Pacific island of Guam. When five B-52 Stratofortress bombers returned to the US on Thursday, no aircraft arrived to replace them. The Pentagon has offered no explanation.
- NAVFAC Southwest Battles COVID-19 with $2.6 Million for Disinfecting Services NNS 17 Apr 2020 -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest awarded a not-to-exceed $2.6 million contract March 19 for critical cleaning and disinfecting of areas with confirmed COVID-19 cases at military facilities in the NAVFAC Southwest area of responsibility.
- Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific Awards First Construction Contract in Japan NNS 17 Apr 2020 -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific awarded a $128 million firm-fixed price contract to Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd. of Yokohama City, Kanagawa, Japan April 14 for the construction of a concrete fixed single pier at Command Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.
- Navy Awards Ship to Shore Connector Contract As Program Continues to Progress NNS 17 Apr 2020 -- The Navy awarded a contract for the Fiscal Year 2017-2020 procurement of Ship to Shore Connector craft April 16.
- Pentagon Could Award Contract for Next Generation of ICBMs Before September Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper told reporters earlier this week that the contract for the US' next generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) could be awarded even earlier than September, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Pompeo Told Lavrov Any Future Arms Control Talks Must Include China - State Department Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- Russia and the United States are parties to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which is set to expire in 2021. It is the last remaining arms control treaty in force between Russia and the United States after the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
- U.S. military plane spotted again near Taiwan's airspace CNA 17 Apr 2020 -- A United States military reconnaissance plane was reported flying near Taiwan's southern airspace Friday morning, the ninth time U.S. military aircraft have been observed operating near Taiwan in April.
- US Building Ground-Based Network of Offensive Weapons to Jam Russian Satellites – Report Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- The Space Force, the newest branch of the US military, has requested over $15.3 billion in funding for operations, equipment and satellite equipment for fiscal year 2021.
- US destroyers conduct operations with NATO Allies in the Baltic and Black Seas NATO 17 Apr 2020 -- Two destroyers with the United States 6th Fleet are operating in the Baltic and Black Seas, demonstrating NATO's continued vigilance and commitment to deterrence and defence in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Coronavirus response: second airlift brings 73 tons of medical supplies to Poland NATO 17 Apr 2020 -- An AN-124 cargo plane carrying around 73 tons of medical supplies from China landed in Wroclaw, Poland on Thursday (16 April 2020) to help the country's fight against COVID-19. The supplies, purchased by the Polish government, included 14 million masks, 300,000 protective suits and a machine to make masks.
- Coronavirus response: airlift brings medical supplies to Bulgaria NATO 17 Apr 2020 -- A military plane has delivered medical supplies – masks, suits and diagnostic kits – to Bulgaria in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The C-17 Globemaster transport plane landed at Sofia airport from China early on Friday (17 April 2020).
- Moscow: US Accusing Russia of Missile Tests to Distract From Deployment of American Weapons in Space Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- US Space Command accused Russia of testing a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile on Wednesday, claiming that the test was "another example that the threats to US and allied space systems" were " real, serious and growing."
- Dialogue With US on Hypersonic Weapons Impossible Without Discussing Antimissile Systems - Moscow Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- Russia cannot have a dialogue with the US on new Russian hypersonic weapons without a thorough discussion of US hypersonic projects, its plans to create a global anti-missile system and to deploy weapons in space, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik on Friday, stressing that this was an indisputable precondition of the dialogue.
- Penghu coast guard chases off illegal Chinese sand dredgers CNA 17 Apr 2020 -- More than 40 Chinese vessels were chased from Taiwan's territorial waters Friday after they were found illegally dredging sea sand, the Penghu coast guard said.
- China provides mental health service for troops stationed on Nansha Islands PLA Daily 17 Apr 2020 -- On April 7, Jiang Chunlei, a psychology professor of the PLA Naval Medical University, set foot on the Yongshu Reef to provide mental health counseling for soldiers. Since then, the first batch of metal health service stations established by the PLA troops stationed on the Nansha Islands was put into operation, in a bid to provide professional and systematic mental health services for service members stationed on the islands and reefs.
- Almost half of crew on French aircraft carrier fleet have COVID-19 Press TV 17 Apr 2020 -- France's Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly says more than 1,000 of the sailors on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier fleet have tested positive for the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
- French Military Launches Inquiry After 1,081 Aircraft Carrier Members Test Positive for COVID-19 Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- With France's coronavirus death toll reaching 18,681, according to the latest figures compiled by John Hopkins University, the country has become one of the worst-hit globally by the ongoing pandemic, and it now seems that France's navy could be emerging as an infection hotspot.
- Armed forces not to allow adventurers make any wrong move against Iran, top commander says IRNA 17 Apr 2020 -- Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri on Friday warned adventurers against taking any wrong move, saying that the enemies' satanic plots are doomed to failure as they were before.
- Iran celebrates Army Day with COVID-19 aid convoys Press TV 17 Apr 2020 -- Iran has marked its annual National Army day by replacing usual parades with a COVID-19 aid march of military vehicles designed and packed with supplies to help assist the country's battle with the coronavirus.
- Iran's defense minister blasts 'aggressive' US presence in Persian Gulf Press TV 17 Apr 2020 -- Iran's defense minister has dismissed US reports of harassment by Iranian vessels as "baseless" and said the "illegal and aggressive" American presence in the Persian Gulf is causing insecurity in the region.
- Defense minister:US inflames insecurity in Persian Gulf IRNA 17 Apr 2020 -- Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Friday that the illegal and aggressive presence of the US has unsecured the Persian Gulf as they create problems for the people of the region through threatening and imposing sanctions."
- Iranian Navy Floats Creation of Long-Range Nuclear-Powered Subs Amid Renewed Gulf Tensions With US Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- Iran's defence minister blasted the US over its 'illegal' presence in the Persian Gulf this week after the US Navy accused Iranian Navy gunboats of engaging in "dangerous and harassing" behaviour against large US surface ships during drills.
- Pakistan Criticizes Proposed Sale of US Missile Systems to India VOA 17 Apr 2020 -- Pakistan said Friday that a proposed new multimillion-dollar sale of American missile systems to Islamabad's archrival, India, would destabilize an already "volatile" situation in South Asia.
- 17 April 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 17 Apr 2020
- Ceasefire during COVID-19 pandemic essential, to safeguard 250 million children UN News 17 Apr 2020 -- The head of the UN children's fund UNICEF warned on Friday that 250 million children around the world living in the "waking nightmare" of conflict desperately need warring parties to stop fighting as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.
- Malaysia: Chinese Survey Ship Is in Our Waters Radio Free Asia 17 Apr 2020 -- The Malaysian coast guard confirmed Friday the presence of a Chinese survey ship that vessel-tracking software shows is operating close to an exploration vessel contracted by the Malaysian state oil company Petronas. The survey activity is just inside the nation's exclusive economic zone.
- Houthis Say Saudi-led Coalition Launched 23 Airstrikes on Several Yemeni Provinces Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- Air forces of the Saudi-led coalition have conducted 23 air raids on Yemen's northeastern and northwestern provinces despite the coalition announcing a halt of activities amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Houthi rebel movement said on Friday.
- US-backed militants escape al-Tanf base, defect to Syrian army Press TV 18 Apr 2020 -- Members of the last remaining US-backed militant group in Syria have fled an occupied American military base to government-held territory, defecting to the Damascus army that is on the verge of winning the war against Takfiri terrorists.
- 34 US-Backed Militants Surrender, Hand Weapons to Syrian Army – Reports Sputnik 18 Apr 2020 -- Earlier, the Russian Defence Ministry's Centre for Syrian Reconciliation confirmed that over two dozen militants trained at a US military base in Syria had surrendered to the Syrian Army after breaking out of the US-controlled At-Tanf area and engaging in a shootout with other militia members.
- Syrian villagers force US military convoy to return to base Press TV 17 Apr 2020 -- Local people in Syrian village of Abu Qasaib in northeastern province of Hasakah stopped a US military convoy on Thursday, forcing the US troops to return to their occupied base.
- Chadian jet 'accidentally' drops bomb on senior army officer's house, killing four Press TV 17 Apr 2020 -- Four people were killed and two others wounded in Chad when a bomb "accidentally dropped" from a jet onto the house of a senior army officer near the capital, N'Djamena, a prosecutor and an air force officer say.
- Indian Army Chief Slams Pakistan for Carrying Out Cross-Border Fire Amid Pandemic Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- India and Pakistan have been engaging in cross-border firing since the first week of April. India has alleged that three civilians were killed by Pakistan on 12 April in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has countered that Indian troops were targeting civilians along the Line of Control with artillery fire.
- Indian Military Camp in Kashmir's Pulwama District Attacked by Terrorists Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Fighting between Myanmar military, ethnic rebels kills 32: UN rights office Press TV 17 Apr 2020 -- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says at least 32 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in the restive Rakhine and Chin states in western Myanmar amid an escalation in fighting between the country's military and ethnic rebels.
- Teenager Killed, Civilians Injured in Crossfire of Battle in Myanmar's Rakhine State Radio Free Asia 17 Apr 2020 -- A teenager was killed and a dozen other civilians were injured Thursday amid crossfire as government soldiers responded to landmine attacks in western Myanmar's war-ridden Rakhine state, where civilians are dying violent deaths even as their region braces for the contagious coronavirus, local residents said.
- UN human rights office calls for compassion following Rohingya deaths at sea UN News 17 Apr 2020 -- The UN human rights office (OHCHR), is calling for compassion for people desperately seeking shelter, after 30 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar died on a boat in the Bay of Bengal that had spent nearly two months at sea.
- Counted Out: Separatist-Held Areas Of Eastern Ukraine Don't Factor In Global Coronavirus Tally, But Face 'Considerable' Threat RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- In a far corner of Eastern Europe lies a war-torn territory roughly the size of Belgium and occupied by around 4 million people where coronavirus cases aren't being counted in global tallies, yet health experts warn the situation there is bad and likely to grow worse.
- UN, EU, US Welcome Release, Exchange of Prisoners in E. Ukraine VOA 17 Apr 2020 -- The United Nations, the European Union and the United States welcomed the release and exchange of prisoners in eastern Ukraine, which has been torn by a 6-year-old armed conflict.
- Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, April 17, 2020 Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 17 Apr 2020
- The Week In Russia: The Coronavirus And Kremlin Control RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- When Russian President Vladimir Putin was cracking down on opponents, critics, and protesters dismayed by his return to the Kremlin in 2012, I asked the human rights activist Lyudmila Alekseyeva how far he would go -- and how close to the murderous methods used by dictator Josef Stalin and other Soviet leaders.
- Arrested Top Ukrainian Security Officer 'Planned Interior Minister's Assassination' RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- A top security official in Ukraine who was arrested for alleged collaboration with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) is suspected in plotting the assassination of Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
- China Pushes Coal Power to Fight Economic Slump Radio Free Asia 17 Apr 2020 -- Environmental advocates are raising alarms about China's plans to build more coal-fired power plants as the government pursues economic recovery.
- US Warned Israel of Coronavirus Outbreak in China in November, but 'Nothing Was Done' - Report Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- An earlier ABC News report stated that US intelligence officials had warned the military and White House about the spread of a coronavirus outbreak in China as far back as late November 2019, with the Pentagon denying the "product/assessment" existed.
- Upcoming NPC sessions 'the first step' to two sessions, as China moves toward normalcy Global Times 17 Apr 2020 -- The next session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) will be held in Beijing from April 26 to 29, the first step to the national two sessions, sources said. While Chinese President Xi Jinping's inspection of Wuhan on March 10 signaled the success of the fight against the coronavirus epidemic in the heavily hit province of Hubei, the opening of the "two sessions" indicates China is walking toward normalcy, which are milestone indicators of the country's epidemic battle.
- What's next for China after record 6.8% GDP fall? Global Times 17 Apr 2020 -- China on Friday provided the clearest and most complete picture yet of the economic cost of the deadly coronavirus, which has so far taken 4,642 Chinese lives. With first-quarter GDP shrinking 6.8 percent, the first decline since 1992 when quarterly data began to be reported, the damage amounts to an eye-popping 1.44 trillion yuan ($203.4 billion) in lost output, equivalent to the entire New Zealand economy in 2018.
- US 'black hands' behind HK education shows need for national security law Global Times 17 Apr 2020 -- The Fulbright Program - a flagship interna-tional educational exchange program of the US Department of State in China's Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) - has become a major platform for training students as part of anti-mainland forces while intervening in local education and manipulating important courses of higher education, local media reports said, reflecting "black hands" of the US behind of chaos in the city and that passage of the national security law is highly necessary, analysts said.
- China-Kazakhstan ties unaffected by online article amid joint fight against pandemic: Chinese envoy Global Times 17 Apr 2020 -- China and Kazakhstan are joining hands in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, and friendly relations between the two would not be affected at all by a minor episode caused by an online article by some we-media, the Chinese Ambassador to Kazakhstan told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
- China's Chang'e-4 probe resumes work for 17th lunar day PLA Daily 17 Apr 2020 -- The lander and rover of the Chang'e-4 probe have resumed work for the 17th lunar day on the far side of the moon after "sleeping" during the extremely cold night.
- Taiwan warns against nationals working for CPC-affiliated agencies CNA 17 Apr 2020 -- Taiwan warned Friday of legal action against Taiwanese citizens working for China-based media outlets with links to the Communist Party of China (CPC), after an incident that came to light at a recent White House news briefing.
- Taiwan DPP exploiting COVID-19 to attack WHO 'doomed to fail' Global Times 17 Apr 2020 -- The Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has targeted the World Health Organization (WHO), seeking "Taiwan independence" by using the COVID-19 pandemic. Such an attempt is doomed to fail, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said, following the Taiwan authority's accusation that the WHO "refused to act" on an email it sent four months ago concerning the possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.
- Mainland condemns Taiwan's DPP authority for using COVID-19 to seek independence People's Daily 17 Apr 2020 -- A Chinese mainland spokesperson Friday denounced the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority in Taiwan for taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to seek independence.
- U.S.-Russian Crew Lands Safely In Kazakhstan After More Than 200 Days In Space RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- Three members of the U.S.-Russian crew have returned to Earth after spending several months at the International Space Station (ISS).
- Ruling Party Lecturers Admit COVID-19 is Spreading in North Korea, Contradicting Official Claims Radio Free Asia 17 Apr 2020 -- Authorities in North Korea have been telling citizens in public lectures that there were confirmed coronavirus cases within the reclusive country's borders as early as late March, contradicting Pyongyang's claims that it remains free of the epidemic that has spread to all of its neighbors, RFA has learned.
- Kim's Absence at North Korean National Holiday Drives Health Problem Suspicions Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been absent from several important state functions recently, including the Day of the Sun this past Wednesday, leading experts to speculate as to why. While some believe he might be sick, most think it's an effort to distance himself from previous leaders.
- Rouhani: Iran should sell-off crude oil IRNA 17 Apr 2020 -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday urged the petroleum minister to accelerate its stabilization polices to increase the production of petroleum products through selling off the crude oil as much as possible.
- Russia says US continuing to violate Iran nuclear deal IRNA 17 Apr 2020 -- Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday that the United States continues to violate a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran – known as JCPOA – despite widespread appeal by the international community to save the deal.
- Firefighters Battle New Blazes In Ukraine's Chernobyl Exclusion Zone RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- More than 1,000 firefighters have been sent to extinguish new fires that broke out in the radiation-contaminated area around the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant.
- Cambodia's Senate Approves State of Emergency Law as UN Expert Warns of its Risks to Rights Radio Free Asia 17 Apr 2020 -- Legislation authorizing a state of emergency to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Cambodia risks violating the right to privacy, free speech, and peaceful assembly, a United Nations expert said Friday, as lawmakers gave their final approval of the bill.
- Tajik President's Son Becomes Chairman Of Parliament's Upper Chamber RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's eldest son has become the chairman of the parliament's upper chamber, known as the Majlisi Milli.
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