19 December 2020 Military News
- UNICEF, Taliban Agree On Community-Based Classes For Children In Afghanistan RFE/RL Gandhara 19 Dec 2020 -- UNICEF has reached an agreement with the Taliban to expand community-based education classes in Taliban-controlled areas to serve more than 100,000 children, including girls.
- Rare UN-Taliban Agreement to Set Up 4,000 Schools in Insurgent-Held Afghan Territory VOA 19 Dec 2020 -- UNICEF has struck a rare agreement with the Taliban in war-ravaged Afghanistan to establish thousands of informal schools in areas controlled by the Islamist insurgent group.
- Taliban Attacks Leave More Than 480 Afghan Civilians Dead Over Past 3 Months, Ministry Confirms Sputnik 19 Dec 2020 -- The Taliban's continued suicide attacks and bomb blasts over the past three months have resulted in the deaths of more than 480 civilians, Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, said on Saturday.
- Statement from AFRICOM commander U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend on the activation of Joint Task Force - Quartz AFRICOM 19 Dec 2020 -- Statement attributable to U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, U.S. Africa Command commander.
- U.S. Africa Command stands up Joint Task Force-Quartz AFRICOM 19 Dec 2020 -- STUTTGART -- U.S. Africa Command commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend directed the formation of Joint Task Force- Quartz to oversee Operation Octave Quartz, a mission designated to reposition forces from Somalia.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Space Force Personnel to be Called Guardians DoD News 19 Dec 2020 -- Soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Guardians. That's the line-up for personnel in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and America's newest armed service — the U.S. Space Force.
- Operation Warp Speed Goes on Offense Against COVID-19 DoD News 19 Dec 2020 -- With vaccines going into arms across the nation, Operation Warp Speed is on the offense against the coronavirus pandemic that is attacking the United States, Army Gen. Gus Perna, the chief operating officer of the effort, said.
- U.S. warship USS Mustin transits through Taiwan Strait CNA 19 Dec 2020 -- The USS Mustin, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, the 12th this year that such passage has been carried out by an American warship.
- China's military tails, monitors US warship in Taiwan Strait Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- China says its military has tailed and monitored a US warship through the Taiwan Strait, warning the United States against jeopardizing peace and stability in the sensitive waterway.
- Z-20 helicopters to play more roles in China's military PLA Daily 19 Dec 2020 -- An air assault brigade under the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) 75th Group Army conducted an air-ground integration exercise simulating the securing of an airfield recently. The combatants took utility helicopters to avoid the enemy's frontal fire, broke through their weak points, landed on the top of the simulated enemy's command building, and end the battle with the shortest possible time.
- Iranian Navy dispatches new flotilla of warships to high seas Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- A flotilla of Iranian warships has left the country's southern port city of Bandar Abbas for high seas on a routine mission to maintain the Islamic Republic's power and safeguard its interests in international waters.
- Iraqi popular forces kill five terrorists, thwart raid in Jurf al-Nasr town in Babel province Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- Iraq's Joint Operations Command says the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have managed to kill five terrorists while thwarting a terrorist attack in al-Oaisat area in Jurf al-Nasr town in Babel province, located south of the capital Baghdad.
- Pashinian Leads Armenians In Procession To Mourn Deaths In Recent Conflict RFE/RL 19 Dec 2020 -- Armenians on December 19 began three days of mourning for those who died in six weeks of fierce fighting against Azerbaijani forces in and around Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Experts Warn of Food Insecurity in South Sudan That Could Lead to Famine VOA 19 Dec 2020 -- Three U.N. organizations are calling for immediate humanitarian access to parts of Pibor County in South Sudan's Jonglei state, where people have run out of food and are facing catastrophic levels of hunger, according to a report on food insecurity in the country.
- Cameroon Says Boko Haram Infiltrates Top Business and Political Leaders VOA 19 Dec 2020 -- A Cameroonian official said Friday he had found evidence that, as widely suspected, Boko Haram militants have been establishing close ties in Cameroonian political and business circles. The revelation came after Cameroon's military arrested a former lawmaker for allegedly supplying cattle to the Nigerian terrorist group.
- Trump Downplays Suspected Russia-led Hack VOA 19 Dec 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump is downplaying the severity of a massive cybersecurity breach by suspected Russian operatives that has exposed the networks of government agencies and private sector companies, contradicting the assertions of his secretary of state and lawmakers briefed on the matter.
- Trump Downplays Cyberattack, Doubts Russian Involvement RFE/RL 19 Dec 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump has downplayed the seriousness and impact of a widespread cyberattack and cast doubt on whether Russia was to blame in his first public comments on the incident.
- Trump Says Hacking Attack on US Blown Out of Proportion, Points Finger at China Sputnik 19 Dec 2020 -- Earlier this week, reports emerged that hundreds of US federal government entities and companies had been targeted in a massive hacking attack, which was instantly blamed on a foreign actor by US media. The Washington Post, in particular, claimed a hacking group with links to Moscow was behind it, but provided no evidence to back the allegation.
- US to shutter its two remaining consulates in Russia Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- The Trump administration has informed Congress of its plan to shut down the two remaining US consulates in Russia amid heighted tensions with Moscow.
- U.S. Will Shut Last Two Consulates In Russia RFE/RL 19 Dec 2020 -- The United States plans to close its last two consulates in Russia, leaving only an embassy in Moscow as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate.
- Bulgaria Expels Russian Diplomat on Spying Charges VOA 19 Dec 2020 -- Bulgaria accuses a Russian diplomat of spying and is expelling him from the country.
- China will as always follow a diplomatic path that serves development, pursues win-win strategy: Wang Yi Global Times 19 Dec 2020 -- Speaking of Chinese style of diplomacy, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday reiterated that China has no intention to compete for hegemony and meddle in other countries' internal affairs, or export its systems and development modes, let alone seek the so-called sphere of influence.
- Trump signs bill that could delist Chinese companies from US stock exchanges Global Times 19 Dec 2020 -- US President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law a new bill that could kick Chinese companies off US stock exchanges if they don't comply with American auditing standards within three years.
- China FM calls on US to stop 'arbitrary suppression' of Chinese firms Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- China has censured unilateral US sanctions against Beijing and called on Washington to halt "arbitrary suppression" of the country's companies.
- US making strategic miscalculations on China issues: Chinese FM Wang Yi Global Times 19 Dec 2020 -- Despite China's earnest efforts to build China-US relations on the basis of coordination, cooperation and stability, some US politicians continue to make strategic miscalculations, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.
- China unveils security review on foreign investment for better opening-up Global Times 19 Dec 2020 -- China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top planner, and the Ministry Commerce announced on Saturday to issue new measures on the security review of foreign investment affecting national security, which will come into effect from January 18 2021.
- US blacklists more Chinese companies, including SMIC Global Times 19 Dec 2020 -- The US Commerce Department announced Friday that it added more Chinese companies, including China's leading chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), to its Entity List.
- China confident in boosting ties with Russia: FM spokesperson Global Times 19 Dec 2020 -- China has the confidence and determination to maintain the positive development momentum of cooperation with Russia, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.
- Suspected DPRK Uranium Enrichment Plant May Be Manufacturing Centrifuge Components – Report Sputnik 19 Dec 2020 -- In 2018, suspicions surfaced that North Korea, in addition to its major nuclear plant in Yongbyon, has another uranium-enrichment plant, believed to be called Kangson, located in Chollima-guyok, just southwest of Pyongyang. The facility was reportedly opened in the early 2000s, prior to the Yongbyon plant, and to have begun operating by 2003.
- Protests Continue In Belarus Demanding End To Authoritarian Lukashenka Rule RFE/RL 19 Dec 2020 -- People marched and rallied in Minsk and elsewhere in Belarus on December 19 as demonstrations demanding that Alyaksandr Lukashenka step down entered day 133.
- Pakistani Anti-Terror Court Puts Pashtun Leader At Center Of Protests In Custody RFE/RL Gandhara 19 Dec 2020 -- An anti-terrorism court in Karachi on December 19 handed over a lawmaker and Pashtun-rights leader to be held in custody for 12 days over a sedition charge that has sparked protests all over northwestern Pakistan.
- Pakistani PM firmly rejects Israeli ties as 'baseless', publicity campaign Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has rejected as "baseless" reports of his government officials visiting Israel, insisting why would any of the ministers visit Tel Aviv when Islamabad does not recognize the occupying regime.
- Pakistan pays back $1bn to Saudi Arabia, reaches out to China for loan assistance Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- Pakistan has paid off more than $1 billion to Saudi Arabia as the second instalment of a $3.3 billion soft loan it had obtained from the Arab kingdom, as cash-strapped Islamabad reaches out to China for a commercial loan to repay the rest.
- 'Insulting' Erdogan puts more than 900 children before court in Turkey: Report Press TV 20 Dec 2020 -- In Turkey, more than 900 minors, including 264 between the ages of 12 and 14, have appeared before the court in a span of six years for "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a report says.
- UK Lawmakers Voice Concern About UK's Readiness For Brexit Sputnik 19 Dec 2020 -- A UK parliamentary committee voiced concern on Saturday over the country's preparedness for the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year, and called on the government to ensure there is a "robust" contingency plan to deal with "whatever happens" after January 1.
- Sudanese angry over lack of change two years since uprising Press TV 19 Dec 2020 -- Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Sudan's capital and other cities across the country to call for freedom, justice, and peace on the second anniversary of the ouster of long-time president Omar al-Bashir in a coup d'état.
- Bulgaria's 'Oligarch In Chief' Taps Washington Lobby Firm Following Critical Report RFE/RL 19 Dec 2020 -- One of Bulgaria's most powerful businessmen has hired a top Washington lobby firm amid accusations he is undermining democracy and inflaming corruption in the East European nation.
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