12 December 2020 Military News
Defense Policy / Programs
- Operation Warp Speed Official: First COVID-19 Vaccines to Arrive Monday DoD News 12 Dec 2020 -- The nation's first vaccines for the deadly COVID-19 virus that has plagued most of 2020 will be distributed Monday, following yesterday's emergency-use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Army Gen. Gustave F. Perna said in a press briefing today.
- U.S. Senate passes defense policy bill with veto-proof majority People's Daily 12 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. Senate on Friday overwhelmingly passed the 740-billion-U.S.-dollar National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with a veto-proof majority, setting up a showdown with President Donald Trump who threatened to veto the bill.
- US Senate approves mammoth military budget Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- The United States Senate has approved a massive annual military budget amid forecasts of a new Cold War.
- New Zealand, U.S. Navies Operate Together in the Eastern Pacific US Navy 12 Dec 2020 -- Anzac-class frigate HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) conducted combined operations in the eastern Pacific, Dec. 8 through Dec. 9.
- Russia Reports Successful Test Of Submarine-Launched Bulava ICBMs RFE/RL 12 Dec 2020 -- Russia has successfully conducted a test-firing of four intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the country's Defense Ministry has said.
- Iranian cmdr. warns of 'fiery response' after US sends bombers to Middle East Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- A senior Iranian commander warns that the smallest potential violation of the Islamic Republic's airspace is to be followed by a "fiery response" after the United States sends its B-52H bombers on an overflight mission above the Persian Gulf.
- Japan Abandons Plans to Upgrade F-15 Fighter Jets as Cost Rises Dramatically, Media Says Sputnik 12 Dec 2020 -- In October, Boeing and Mitsubishi signed an agreement to modernise Japan's F-15 aircraft so they could carry long-range cruise missiles. The reason why Tokyo decided to upgrade the aircraft was China's intensifying air patrols over the disputed Senkaku Islands, which have been a big issue for the two nations.
- U.S. defense bill with pro-Taiwan provisions approved by Senate CNA 12 Dec 2020 -- The United States Senate on Friday adopted provisions supporting continued arms sales to Taiwan and establishing an initiative to bolster the U.S. military's presence in the Asia Pacific region, as part of an annual defense policy bill.
- UK Royal Navy Is Ready to Guard British Waters in Case of No-Deal Brexit, Report Says Sputnik 12 Dec 2020 -- As the transition period expires in less than a month, Britain is possibly heading for a no-deal exit, since no agreement has been reached so far on post-divorce trade regulations.
- Sustainable fuels to power RAF jets UK MOD 12 Dec 2020 -- Algae, alcohol and household waste will power RAF fighter jets under bold MOD plans to slash carbon emissions, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced today.
- Chinese envoy calls for prudent approach to issue of Syria's chemical weapons People's Daily 12 Dec 2020 -- A Chinese envoy on Friday called for a prudent approach to the issue of Syria's chemical weapons.
- OPCW has become a tool in the hands of US, allies: Syria's deputy FM Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar al-Jaafari says the Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is being manipulated by the United States and its allies, emphasizing that his country's chemical dossier must be closed as Damascus has fully complied with its relevant obligations.
- Israel establishes 'formal diplomatic ties' with Bhutan Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- The Israeli regime says it has signed a deal with Bhutan to establish diplomatic relations with the relatively-isolated Himalayan nation.
- Israel, Bhutan Establish Full Diplomatic Relations, Israeli Foreign Ministry Says Sputnik 12 Dec 2020 -- Israel and Bhutan on Saturday signed an agreement on normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
- Saudi played role in Morocco-Israel normalization: Report Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Saudi Arabia has reportedly played a role in the recent US-mediated normalization agreement between Morocco and the occupying Israeli regime.
- Hezbollah condemns Morocco-Israel agreement on normalization of relations Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement has strongly condemned the so-called agreement between Morocco and the Israeli regime on the normalization of relations, stressing that the Arab countries having relations with Tel Aviv will soon regret their move.
- Algeria's Prime Minister Voices Security Concerns Over Morocco-Israel Rapprochement Sputnik 12 Dec 2020 -- The recently-signed agreement on normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel points to the latter's pursuit to anchor itself in Northern Africa, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad said on Saturday.
- ICC Prosecutor Asks For Full Probe Into Possible War Crimes In Ukraine Conflict RFE/RL 12 Dec 2020 -- The International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor has said that a preliminary probe found possible war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine that warrant a full investigation by The Hague-based judges.
- First aid convoy enters Ethiopia's Tigray amid humanitarian crisis Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- An international aid convoy has arrived in Ethiopia's northernmost region of Tigray, carrying medicine and other supplies for the first time since more than a month ago, when an escalation of violence triggered a refugee crisis and a humanitarian disaster in the African country.
- Relief Aid Arrives in Embattled Tigray Region VOA 12 Dec 2020 -- The first shipment of international aid since fighting began arrived in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region Saturday to help people affected by violence there.
- Armenia, Azerbaijan Trade Accusations For Nagorno-Karabakh Cease-Fire Violations RFE/RL 12 Dec 2020 -- Armenia has accused Baku of violating a cease-fire agreement in the conflict over Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region.
- Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the new round of British anti-Russia sanctions Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 12 Dec 2020
- Russia resumes Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, defying US sanctions Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Russia has restarted construction of the politically-delicate Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany, laying pipes after a one-year interruption driven by US sanctions, the pipeline operator said.
- China says U.S. exposes blatant hypocrisy on human rights People's Daily 12 Dec 2020 -- China said Friday the U.S. practices on human rights have demonstrated to the whole world what "textbook" human rights hypocrisy looks like.
- President Xi Jinping delivers an important speech at the 2020 Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday Global Times 12 Dec 2020
- If HK civil servants don't follow this rule, they will be dismissed or ordered to retire early Global Times 12 Dec 2020 -- All civil servants of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will be required to take an oath or sign a declaration pledging their allegiance to Hong Kong and upholding the Basic Law. According to hk01.com, a Hong Kong-based media outlet, the provision is expected to come into effect by the end of this month, and civil servants who refuse to take the oath or sign the declaration will be dismissed or ordered to retire early.
- Carrying lunar samples, Chang'e-5 executes first lunar-Earth transfer projection Global Times 12 Dec 2020 -- Having traveled around moon for about six days, the orbital module of China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe executed on Saturday its first lunar-Earth transfer projection, shifting its flight path from near-circular orbit to a higher elliptical orbit, Global Times learned from the China National Space Administration.
- Chang'e-5 orbiter-returner completes orbital maneuver to prepare for return People's Daily 12 Dec 2020 -- The orbiter-returner combination of China's Chang'e-5 probe on Saturday completed an orbital maneuver, preparing to leave the lunar orbit for a trajectory that returns it to Earth, according to the China National Space Administration.
- Taiwan's govt says it has solved its 1st cyber national security case CNA 12 Dec 2020 -- The Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Justice said on Friday it has cracked down on a cyber misinformation dissemination case which had claimed Taiwan was planning to intervene in the domestic politics in Thailand, thus solving the country's first cyber national security case.
- Chinese anti-submarine plane enters Taiwan's ADIZ CNA 12 Dec 2020 -- A Chinese military Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft entered Taiwan's southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, in the ninth such incursion this month, according to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND).
- Interview: North Korean Prison Guards 'Beat Anyone Regardless of Age' Radio Free Asia 12 Dec 2020 -- North Korean prisoners suffer extremely harsh conditions in the country's political prison camps and forced labor camps, where malnutrition and disease are rampant, and torture, beatings and other abuses at the hands of prison authorities are the norm.
- European States, US Accuse North Korea of Using COVID-19 Pandemic 'to Crack Down on Human Rights' Sputnik 12 Dec 2020 -- Member states of the United Nations Security Council including Germany, Britain, France, Belgium, Estonia, the United States and the Dominican Republic brought up the issue of human rights abuses in North Korea in a closed-door virtual meeting on Friday.
- Turkish FM gives Zarif assurance Ankara respects Iran's sovereignty Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Ankara's definite policy is to maintain close and cordial relations with Tehran based on good neighborliness after Turkish president's recitation of a poem provoked unease in Iran.
- Iran urges IAEA to remain 'impartial' despite US pressure Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Iran's permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to remain "impartial" despite the pressure exerted by the US on the UN nuclear watchdog regarding Tehran's nuclear activities.
- Russia 'Looking To Counter' U.S. Sanctions Against Iran RFE/RL 12 Dec 2020 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow continues to reject U.S. sanctions against Iran, has put its money where its mouth is by increasing trade with Tehran, and that Moscow will continue to look for new ways to counter the punitive measures.
- Russia opposes JCPOA revision, inclusion of non-nuclear issues: FM Lavrov Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the United States is the root cause of the ongoing challenges pertaining to Iran's nuclear program, expressing Moscow's opposition to any possible plan aimed at reviewing a landmark 2015 nuclear deal or including non-nuclear issues in it.
- Russian FM dismisses suggestions of JCPOA revision IRNA 12 Dec 2020 -- The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed the US for the current situation the world is facing in regards to the Iranian nuclear deal and held Washington responsible for it, stressing that the July 2015 nuclear document should not be revised.
- Switzerland Puts Sanctions On Belarus's Lukashenka, Officials Over Protest Crackdown RFE/RL 12 Dec 2020 -- Switzerland has become the latest country to freeze the financial assets of Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
- Pakistan Decides Against New Coal-fired Power VOA 12 Dec 2020 -- Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Saturday that his country would have no new coal-fired power generation as part of its contribution in global efforts against climate change.
- UK threatens EU with gunboat diplomacy ahead of the breakdown of trade talks Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- With a no-deal Brexit all but assured the UK is taking extraordinary steps to assert a degree of dominance over the European Union (EU) ahead of the formal end of the transition period on December 31.
- Venezuela disrupts US-backed terror attack on refinery: Oil minister Press TV 12 Dec 2020 -- Venezuela has disrupted a terror plot to attack its 146,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) El Palito refinery, says the country's oil minister, blaming Colombia and the US for the scheme.
- Criticism Mounts Against Thai Royal Defamation Law VOA 12 Dec 2020 -- A tough royal defamation law in Thailand must be repealed rather than wielded against a young pro-democracy movement, protesters, law scholars and rights defenders told VOA, as calls mount for the international community to condemn a section of the penal code that smothers criticism of the monarchy.
- Laos Presses Ahead with 4 More Mekong Dams Amid Drought VOA 12 Dec 2020 -- Laos is pushing ahead with four dams across the mainstream of the Mekong River, despite an escalating chorus of objections and crippling debt to Chinese state banks which resulted in the loss of control over its electricity grid to China.
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