09 August 2020 Military News
- Pentagon announces plan to cut troop numbers in Afghanistan to less than 5,000 Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- The Pentagon has announced a plan for a sizable reduction of American troop numbers in Afghanistan before the end of November, the month in which the US presidential election will be held.
- U.S. defense chief confirms troops in Afghanistan reduced below 5,000 in months People's Daily 09 Aug 2020 -- WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed on Saturday that U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be reduced to less than 5,000 by the end of November.
- Afghanistan's grand assembly approves freeing of 400 Taliban prisoners Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, or grand assembly of elders, has approved the release of 400 imprisoned Taliban militants who had been involved in serious crimes in Afghanistan, removing the final obstacle to negotiations between the Afghan government and the militants.
- Afghan President Says He'll Release Taliban On Advice Of Loya Jirga RFE/RL 09 Aug 2020 -- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on August 9 that he will approve the release of 400 jailed Taliban militants in the final part of a prisoner swap meant to clear the way for the start of intra-Afghan peace talks with the Taliban.
- Stage Set for Afghan Peace Talks as Ghani Orders Release of 400 Taliban Prisoners VOA 09 Aug 2020 -- Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani Sunday announced the release of a last batch of 400 Taliban prisoners, clearing the way for an early start to a U.S.-brokered peace dialogue with the Islamist insurgency.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group Returns from Deployment US Navy 09 Aug 2020 -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) carrier strike group returned home to Norfolk Naval Station Aug. 9 after seven months operating in 5th and 6th Fleet.
- White House and DOD Announce Additional Mid-Band Spectrum Available for 5G by the end of the Summer DoD 10 Aug 2020 -- The White House and Department of Defense announced today that 100 megahertz (MHz) of contiguous mid-band spectrum, in the 3450-3550 MHz band, will be available for 5G by the end of the summer.
- Department of Defense Statement on Mid-Band Spectrum DoD 10 Aug 2020 -- Dana Deasy, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer
- AMBIT Gambit Pays Off, Advances U.S. 5G Efforts DoD News 10 Aug 2020 -- Thanks to efforts by the White House and the Defense Department, a newly devised spectrum-sharing plan will make 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum currently used by the military available for sharing with the private sector for use in development of 5G technologies.
- PLA forces hold landing drills amid US military provocations Global Times 09 Aug 2020 -- Ground and naval forces of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) have been on concentrated schedules in amphibious landing and maritime exercises in the past weeks and will continue to do so in the weeks to come, at a time when the US has been frequently conducting provocative military activities near the island of Taiwan and in the South China Sea.
- MoD's big push to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative; India PIB 09 Aug 2020 -- Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in his address to the Nation on May 12, 2020 had given a clarion call for a self-reliant India based on the five pillars, i.e., Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography & Demand and announced a special economic package for Self-Reliant India named 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
- India Imposes Import Embargo on 101 Military Items VOA 09 Aug 2020 -- India is imposing an import embargo on 101 weapons and other military hardware items.
- Military convoy of SDF militants attacked in northeastern Syria Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- A military convoy belonging to militants affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has reportedly come under attack by unidentified assailants in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah.
- Palestinians reveal Israeli plans to build over 1,000 settler units in E1 West Bank corridor Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- A Palestinian media report has warned of an Israeli regime's plan to build hundreds of new illegal settler units in the strategically sensitive E1 region of the occupied West Bank in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
- Israeli tanks fire shells at Palestinian resistance positions in central besieged Gaza Strip Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- Israeli tanks have fired shells at Palestinian resistance sites in the central parts of the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian reports say.
- Saudi Arabia halts oil supply to Pakistan as rift widens over Kashmir Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- Saudi Arabia has suspended the supply of oil to Pakistan as the latter complains about Riyadh's foot-dragging on a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to address India's contentious measures in Muslim-majority Kashmir region.
- Beirut blast: 'The faster we act, the better we can reduce human suffering,' says UN deputy chief UN News 09 Aug 2020 -- To help Lebanon overcome the tragedy and recover better, "we will need all hands on deck", deputy UN chief Amina Mohammed told a virtual donors conference on Sunday, convened to rally international support in the wake of last week's massive explosion at the Beirut port, which killed some 150 people, wounded thousands and caused destruction throughout much of the city.
- Lebanese police officer killed, 142 injured in anti-gov't protests after Beirut's deadly blasts Global Times 09 Aug 2020 -- A Lebanese police officer was killed and 142 people were injured on Saturday in clashes during protests against the ruling class in downtown Beirut, days after massive explosions rocked the Lebanese capital that killed at least 158 and injured 6,000 others, LBCI TV channel reported.
- Clashes between Lebanese security forces, protesters continue for 2nd day Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- Clashes have erupted for the second day between Lebanese security forces and protesters angry at the government in the wake of the devastating explosion of August 4 in Beirut.
- Why Are Fingers Pointed At Hezbollah In Beirut Explosion? Radio Farda 09 Aug 2020 -- Although the ammonium nitrate that caused the massive explosion in Beirut on August 4 is not directly linked to Hezbollah, some people have been holding the militant group responsible for the tragedy and pointed out the historical cases of the use of the explosive by Hezbollah.
- World Powers Pledge Nearly $300 Million in Lebanon Aid in Wake of Beirut Blast VOA 09 Aug 2020 -- World leaders pledged Sunday nearly $300 million (253 million euros) to Lebanon to help it recover from last week's massive explosion in Beirut.
- Joint Statement on the Erosion of Rights in Hong Kong US Dept. of State 09 Aug 2020 -- "We the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State are gravely concerned by the Hong Kong government's unjust disqualification of candidates and disproportionate postponement of Legislative Council elections."
- Officials condemn US sanctions on HK Global Times 09 Aug 2020 -- In an unprecedented way, Hong Kong officials who had recently been sanctioned by the US government came out with unusually tough rhetoric to criticize this action, which has been described as "shameless and despicable."
- US sanctions on officials not legally binding in Hong Kong: HKMA Global Times 09 Aug 2020 -- The US sanctions on several Chinese officials are not legally binding in Hong Kong, stated the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) on Saturday, as they are unilateral foreign sanctions and not passed by the UN.
- HKSAR chief executive, officials say not fear of so-called U.S. sanctions People's Daily 09 Aug 2020 -- A spokesman for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said on Saturday that HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the HKSAR government officials have expressed no fear of any threats in response to the so-called U.S. sanctions.
- Huawei forced to halt Kirin output Global Times 09 Aug 2020 -- The US chip ban that is set to be effective from mid-September might spell the end for production of Huawei's self-developed Kirin chips, and it could also dampen the competitiveness of the company's high-end phones in the key domestic market as its share in overseas consumer markets shrinks amid US sanctions, Chinese analysts said.
- US Health and Human Services Secretary Visits Taiwan VOA 09 Aug 2020 -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan Sunday, leading a U.S. delegation for a three-day visit during which he will meet President Tsai Ing-wen.
- Highest-level U.S. official since 1979 arrives in Taiwan CNA 09 Aug 2020 -- United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday afternoon, the highest ranking U.S. cabinet official to visit the nation since 1979, when the two countries severed diplomatic ties.
- US health chief arrives in Taiwan amid Washington-Beijing tensions Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar has arrived in Taiwan amid mounting tensions between Washington and Beijing.
- U.S. health secretary to follow quarantine rules during Taiwan visit CNA 09 Aug 2020 -- United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar will present two negative test results for COVID-19 upon his arrival in Taiwan scheduled for Sunday afternoon, according to a U.S. health department spokesman.
- Khamenei Appointee Lashes Out At Powerful Insiders, Military For Not Returning Properties Radio Farda 09 Aug 2020 -- Parviz Fattah, the head of Iran's Mostazafan Foundation, a multi-billion financial conglomerate operating under the aegis of Ali Khamenei, says that one of the Supreme Leader's confidants and close relatives has refused to return assets that belong to the foundation.
- Iran's Real Oil Exports Might Be Much Higher Than Estimated: Tanker-Tracking Firm Radio Farda 09 Aug 2020 -- TankerTrackers.com, a company that tracks and reports shipments and storage of crude oil says Iran probably exports twice as much oil as estimated.
- Daughter Of Man Abducted By Iran Intelligence Says There Is No News About Him Radio Farda 09 Aug 2020 -- Almost a week after the Iran's Ministry of Intelligence announced its agents abducted a dissident and took him back to Iran, the family of the detainee still has no news about him.
- Belarus Cracks Down On Vote Monitoring Ahead Of Election RFE/RL 09 Aug 2020 -- Belarusian authorities have ramped up pressure on the opposition and independent election observers ahead of the August 9 presidential ballot amid concern strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka will use fraud and repression to extend his 26 years of rule against an energized opposition.
- Five Takeaways From The Belarusian Presidential Vote RFE/RL 09 Aug 2020 -- For the first time in recent memory, Alyaksandr Lukashenka appeared to have a fight on his hands in a presidential election. A former teacher and English translator, Svyatlana Tskihanouskaya, had electrified crowds across the country, stepping into the race only after her husband, Syarhey Tsikhanouski, was barred from the ballot and arrested.
- Belarus police briefly detain opposition presidential campaign official Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- Police in Belarus have briefly detained a prominent campaign official of presidential opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, on the eve of a presidential election in which the country's long-running strongman Alexander Lukashenko faces the toughest challenge to his rule yet.
- Iran envoy asks IAEA to make Saudi Arabia's covert nuclear program transparent ISNA 09 Aug 2020 -- Ambassador and permanent representative of Iran to the International Organizations in Vienna, Kazem Gharib-Abadi warned about Saudi Arabia's covert nuclear program, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to probe into the "non-transparent" program
- Aramco Announces Second Quarter and Half-Year 2020 Results SPA 09 Aug 2020 -- The Saudi Arabian Oil Company ("Aramco" or "the Company") today announced its results for the second quarter and first half of 2020, highlighting the Company's financial and operational resilience, and commitment to shareholders despite challenging market conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Saudi Arabia hit hard by low oil prices as Aramco posts massive loss Press TV 09 Aug 2020 -- Low oil prices exacerbated by the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, have inflicted a huge financial loss on Saudi Arabia and its biggest revenue generator, the state-run oil company Aramco.
- Malawi President Working to Trim Executive Powers VOA 09 Aug 2020 -- Malawi's new president Lazarus Chakwera says he is working on proposing legislation aimed at trimming his presidential powers in an effort to empower the citizens. In his national address Saturday, Chakwera said having a president who makes too many decisions has created problems in Malawi and this has led to government mismanagement in the past.
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