29 December 2020 Military News
- Government reforms intimidation scheme to relocate more Afghan staff under threat UK MOD 29 Dec 2020 -- Hundreds of Afghan staff who find themselves at risk as a result of their work to support British Armed Forces will be able to relocate to the UK under a new scheme announced by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
- UK to Accept Hundreds of Afghans Who Helped Fight Taliban, Reports Suggest Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- The UK Defenсe Ministry will allow hundreds of Afghans who risked their lives working for the British military in Afghanistan move to the United Kingdom if they risk persecution by the Taliban, media said Tuesday.
- Michigan Guard supports COVID-19 vaccination effort Army News 29 Dec 2020 -- The Michigan National Guard, on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 since March, is now helping the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) get Michigan residents vaccinated.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Trump Urges Senate to Uphold Defense Funding Veto VOA 29 Dec 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump is urging the Senate to uphold his veto of a $740 billion defense spending measure, even as he predicts that the "weak and tired Republican leadership" in the chamber will allow the veto to be overridden.
- EOD Mobile Unit and Croatian Navy Conduct Humanitarian Mine Action Training US Navy 29 Dec 2020 -- Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) Eight, subordinate command of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 68, facilitated Department of Defense (DoD) Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) EOD Level 2 training to the Croatian Navy's underwater EOD team at Lora Naval Base in Split, Croatia, Dec. 1-21, 2020.
- US Defense Chief Says Pentagon Fully Cooperative With Biden Transition Team Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller in a statement pushed back against President-elect Joe Biden's specific criticism that the political branch of the US Department of Defense was not being fully cooperative with the transition process.
- Additional DOD Locations Selected To Support COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials DoD 29 Dec 2020 -- Operation Warp Speed (OWS) continues to accelerate development of safe and effective vaccines by supporting multiple candidates. In line with this unprecedented effort, Womack Army Medical Center, is the latest Department of Defense (DOD) location to join Phase 3 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine trials.
- Louisiana Guard responded at home, abroad in 2020 Army News 29 Dec 2020 -- The year 2020 has been an unprecedented year for the Louisiana National Guard. Between COVID response efforts, the busiest hurricane season since 2005 and a series of deployments, the LANG supported the longest emergency response effort in the state's history.
- Lavrov: Extended New START Will Help Int'l Security Unless Biden Makes Deal Hostage to US Ambitions Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- The extension of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty for a maximum possible period serves the interests of both Russia, the United States and the global community, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Sputnik.
- Aircraft carrier Shandong conducts night exercises, builds up combat-readiness Global Times 29 Dec 2020 -- China's second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, recently conducted a series of night exercises, as the warship is on its way to becoming combat-ready around-the-clock, analysts said on Tuesday.
- Revised national defense law to take effect in China on January 1, 2021 PLA Daily 29 Dec 2020 -- The Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, adopted the revised National Defense Law at its 24th session on December 26. The revised law further embodies the character that China's national defense is a whole-of-people cause. It added contents about strengthening the national defense awareness and the crisis consciousness of all citizens, as well as improving the technology and capability level of national defense.
- Tech key to military modernization, says general PLA Daily 29 Dec 2020 -- The Chinese military is poised to adopt more intelligent technologies in its modernization drive, a senior military official said.
- MISSION SAGAR III - INS KILTAN ARRIVES AT SIHANOUKVILLE, CAMBODIA India PIB 29 Dec 2020 -- Indian Naval Ship Kiltan arrived at Sihanoukville Port, Cambodia on 29 December 2020 as part of ongoing Mission Sagar-III.
- Japan Plans to Develop Tomahawk-Like Missiles With Range of 1,200 Miles, Reports Say Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- Japan is developing long-range missiles similar to the Tomahawk subsonic cruise missiles, the Sankei Shimbun daily reports.
- Saudi Arabia - GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) Munitions DSCA 29 Dec 2020 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) Munitions and related equipment for an estimated cost of $290 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- Egypt - Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) System for Head-of-State Aircraft DSCA 29 Dec 2020 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Egypt of a Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) System for Head-of-State Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $104 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- Egypt - Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATPs) DSCA 29 Dec 2020 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Egypt of Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATPs) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $65.6 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- Kuwait - AH-64E Apache Helicopters DSCA 29 Dec 2020 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Kuwait of AH-64E Apache Helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $4.0 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- Kuwait - System Spares for Patriot Configuration 3+ DSCA 29 Dec 2020 -- The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Kuwait of System Spares for Patriot Configuration 3+ and related equipment for an estimated cost of $200 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
- For the first time since independence, the state orders three new Ukrainian An-178 aircraft from Antonov, which will be delivered to the army - Volodymyr Zelenskyy President of Ukraine 29 Dec 2020 -- With the participation of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a Memorandum was signed between the Ministry of Defense and the Antonov State Enterprise on cooperation in the construction of the aircraft for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
- Hackers Attack Networks of Malaysian Military, Chief of Defence Forces Says Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- A cyberattack was detected on networks belonging to the Malaysian military on Monday, Chief of Defence Forces Affendi Buang confirmed on Tuesday, adding that crucial data was protected.
- Australia concludes its contribution to the International Maritime Security Construct Australia DOD 29 Dec 2020 -- The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has concluded its contribution to the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) in the Middle East Region.
- UN rights expert urges United States to remove sanctions hindering rebuilding in Syria UN News 29 Dec 2020 -- A UN independent human rights expert, on Tuesday, called on the United States to remove unilateral sanctions against Syria that may hamper efforts to rebuild the war-torn country's destroyed civilian infrastructure.
- Bangladesh Relocates 2nd Group of Rohingya Refugees VOA 29 Dec 2020 -- Bangladesh has moved a second group of Rohingya refugees to a low-lying island in the Bay of Bengal, despite strong opposition by international human rights activists.
- Bangladesh continues relocation of Rohingya refugees to island Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Bangladesh has started relocating a second group of Rohingya Muslim refugees to a flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal.
- Myanmar Villagers Return to Refugee Camps Amid Fears of Renewed Fighting in Rakhine State Radio Free Asia 29 Dec 2020 -- Some displaced villagers who returned to their homes last month amid a lull in fighting in Myanmar's Rakhine state are moving back into temporary camps ahead of the expiration this week of an unofficial cease-fire between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army, with signs government troops are returning.
- Sudan army claims to recapture agricultural land from Ethiopian forces Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Sudan's army says it has been fighting a border war with neighboring Ethiopia, after Ethiopian forces allegedly occupied most of the agricultural land at the border between the two countries.
- Palestinian Groups Fire Rockets Into Sea During Military Drill in Gaza Strip Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- Palestinian armed groups on Tuesday fired several rockets toward the sea and launched drones as part of the military exercise in the Gaza Strip, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
- DHS Announces Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras Have Signed Asylum Cooperation Agreement DHS 29 Dec 2020 -- Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have all signed the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) and all three ACAs have entered into force.
- Russia's FSB, US Justice Dept. Conduct Joint Operation to Prevent Cocaine Smuggling Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) announced it had conducted a joint operation with the US Department of Justice to prevent cocaine smuggling from South America to Europe; it had seized 330 kilograms (727 pounds) of cocaine, mostly in the Moscow region.
- Russia, U.S. Collaboration Cracks Drug Network In Rare Show Of Cooperation RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) says it has cut off an international drug-smuggling network through a collaboration with the United States, culminating in the seizure of about 1 billion rubles ($13.6 million) worth of cocaine.
- North Macedonia Arrests Eight Men Suspected Of Creating Terrorist Organization RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- Eight men have been arrested in North Macedonia on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks, police said on December 28.
- Pakistan Sentences Two On Terror-Financing Charges RFE/RL Gandhara 29 Dec 2020 -- A Pakistani court has sentenced two alleged members of banned organizations to long prison terms on terrorism-financing charges.
- Russia blacklists Germany's top security, intelligence officials Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Russia has blacklisted Germany's top security and intelligence officials and barred them from entering the country in response to recent restrictive measures imposed by the European Union (EU) over an alleged cyber attack and the purported poisoning of a Russian opposition figure.
- Russia Blacklists Germany's Top Security, Intelligence Officials Over Bundestag "Hacking" Sanctions Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- The officials' entry ban was introduced in relation to Germany's claims of "Russian trace" in the cyberattack on the German federal parliament in 2015.
- Russia Adds German Officials Barred From Entry In Tit-For-Tat Over 2015 Cyberattack RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- Moscow says it has added several senior German security officials to its list of those barred from the country in response to the European Union's decision to place travel bans on Russian officials over a 2015 hacking attack on the German parliament.
- Former Russian Energy Executive Given 15 Years On 'Absurd' Spying Charge RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- The Moscow City Court has found Karina Tsurkan, an executive with energy holding company Inter RAO, guilty on charges of spying for Moldova, which she denies, and sentenced her to 15 years in prison.
- Russian prison service asks opp. figure Navalny to return to avoid jail Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Russia's prison service has called on opposition figure Alexei Navalny to return from Germany and abide by the terms of a suspended prison sentence he received five years ago or face its transformation to a real jail term.
- Poisoned Kremlin Critic Navalny Told To Return To Russia Or Face Jail RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- Russia's Federal Prison Service has told Kremlin critic and anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny to return immediately from Germany - where he is recovering from a near-fatal poisoning by a Soviet-era nerve agent - or face jail in Russia.
- Russia Launches Criminal Case Against Kremlin Critic Navalny RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case against Aleksei Navalny, accusing the Kremlin critic of stealing hundreds of millions of rubles donated to his anti-corruption organization.
- 'A Postimperial Transformation': With Its Neighborhood In Turmoil, Russia Reassesses The Costs Of Hegemony RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- A season of upheaval in the post-Soviet space may have the Kremlin hoping for a calmer 2021 – and rethinking ways to maintain its clout with limited resources.
- Kremlin Refutes Claims About Putin's Potential Successors as Unsubstantiated Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- Politicians' reflections about a successor for Russian President Vladimir Putin are most often absolutely unsubstantiated, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
- Russia Orders Bulgarian Diplomat To Leave In Tit-For-Tat Move RFE/RL 28 Dec 2020 -- Russia says it has given a Bulgarian diplomat 72 hours to leave the country following the expulsion of its military attache in Sofia.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 29, 2020 PRC MofA 29 Dec 2020
- US Treasury extends China investment ban to subsidiaries Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- The US Treasury Department has published an addendum to an executive order by President Donald Trump clarifying which Chinese company stocks Americans were prohibited to purchase.
- On the Silencing and Prosecution of PRC Citizen Journalist Zhang Zhan US Dept. of State 29 Dec 2020 -- "The United States strongly condemns the People's Republic of China's (PRC) sham prosecution and conviction of citizen journalist Zhang Zhan on December 28."
- Xi eyes unwavering development of China-Russia partnership PLA Daily 29 Dec 2020 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that China is ready to work with Russia to unswervingly develop the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era between the two countries, realize their respective development and revitalization, and make greater contributions to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
- HK secessionist Tony Chung sentenced to 4 months in prison for insulting national flag and illegal gatherings Global Times 29 Dec 2020 -- Former leader of the Hong Kong pro-secessionist group Studentlocalism, Tony Chung Hon-lam was sentenced to four months in prison on Tuesday for insulting the Chinese national flag and participating in illegal gatherings.
- Hong Kong 12 'Pleaded Guilty' to Illegal Border Crossing Charges: Reports Radio Free Asia 29 Dec 2020 -- The families of 12 Hong Kong protesters detained by the China Coast Guard on Aug. 23 as they tried to flee to the democratic island of Taiwan by speedboat say the court that tried the detainees on Monday has told them sentencing will take place on Wednesday.
- Turkish Lawmakers Vow to Block Extradition Treaty With China That Puts Uyghurs at Risk Radio Free Asia 29 Dec 2020 -- China's National People's Congress ratified a treaty with Turkey at the weekend allowing for the forcible deportation of ethnic Uyghurs fleeing persecution by authorities in Xinjiang, with opposition lawmakers in Turkey vowing to block ratification in their own parliament.
- China Moves to Replace Ethnic Mongolians in Education Sector With Han Chinese Radio Free Asia 29 Dec 2020 -- The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stepped up moves to eliminate the Mongolian language in schools in its northern region of Inner Mongolia, ordering Mongolian-medium primary schools to switch to Chinese-medium teaching by the third grade, RFA has learned.
- Chinese anti-submarine aircraft enters Taiwan's southwest ADIZ CNA 29 Dec 2020 -- A Chinese military Y-8 aircraft entered Taiwan's southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, marking the 19th day on which such a maneuver has occurred in December, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that day.
- Many Minor Hydropower Stations Built in DPRK This Year KCNA 29 Dec 2020 -- A work is getting brisk in the DPRK to boost the electricity production and renew the looks of the country by constructing minor hydraulic power stations in a big way for the improvement of local industry and people's livelihood.
- US-North Korean Dialogue at 'Crossroads,' Analysts Say VOA 29 Dec 2020 -- The international community's efforts to compel North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program came to a halt in 2020 following the breakdown of US-led negotiations and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while fears that Pyongyang would show its frustration by conducting another nuclear or ICBM test never came to fruition, much of Seoul's inroads with the regime literally went up in smoke.
- Russia observes international law, regional security in defense cooperation with Iran: FM Lavrov Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has defended his country's defense ties with Iran, saying Moscow respects international law and gives priority to regional peace in its military cooperation with Tehran.
- Iran warns US: Militarization of Persian Gulf benefits no country Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- The Iranian administration has warned against any US adventurism aimed at militarizing the Persian Gulf, saying such moves would be in the interest of no country, whether in the region or elsewhere in the world.
- US committed grave mistake by cowardly assassinating Gen. Soleimani: Iran Foreign Ministry Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Iran's Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the assassination in January of top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Iraq, stating that the United States made a grave mistake by making such a coward move.
- What Can A Biden Administration Do With Human Rights In Iran? Radio Farda 29 Dec 2020 -- Today, Iran sees a widening gap between the nation and state as systematic human rights violations grow day by day. This situation has created controversial debates on the intervention of the U.S. administration, whether the U.S. should take action to convince, or rather force, Iran's leadership to address its misconduct against civil society activists and political dissidents.
- Iran's Government Delays Implementation Of Law Ordering A Ramping Up Of Nuclear Program RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- The Iranian government has delayed implementing parliament's controversial legislation that ordered an immediate ramping up of the country's uranium-enrichment program.
- Iran's Energy Minister Visits Iraq After Slashing Natural Gas Exports VOA 29 Dec 2020 -- Iraqi state TV announced Tuesday the country is suffering from a major electricity crisis following the drastic reduction of natural gas supplies by Iran, from 50 million to 5 million cubic meters.
- Representatives from Myanmar's Ruling NLD to Meet With Ethnic Political Parties Radio Free Asia 29 Dec 2020 -- Myanmar's ruling party will begin meetings with various ethnic political parties on this week, making good on its stated plan to include ethnic minorities in its efforts to build a democratic federal union after winning national elections in November, party officials said Tuesday.
- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Chairs Cabinet's Virtual Session SPA 29 Dec 2020 -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prime Minister, chaired today the Cabinet's virtual session.
- Colombian mercenaries planning new attack on Venezuela: Maduro Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has accused neighboring Colombia of organizing an imminent attack against the Venezuelan military.
- Venezuela's Maduro calls extension of opp. assembly 'unconstitutional' Press TV 29 Dec 2020 -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called the extension of the term of the small assembly of opposition legislators "unconstitutional," after opposition figure Juan Guaido extended its meeting into next year despite the election of a new parliament.
- Maduro Claims Colombia's Mercenaries Planning 'New Attack' on Venezuela Soon Sputnik 29 Dec 2020 -- Caracas cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia in February 2019, citing Bogota's cooperation with the Venezuelan opposition over bringing humanitarian aid into the country. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said at that time that he couldn't "keep putting up with Colombian territory being used for attacks" against the country.
- Lao Plans to Build Another Big Mekong Dam Dismays Villagers, Concerns Thais Radio Free Asia 29 Dec 2020 -- Laos is preparing to build what will be its seventh of nine planned large-scale Mekong River mainstream dams, the latest project in its controversial economic strategy to become the "battery of Southeast Asia," sources in the country told RFA.
- Cambodian Court Begins Mass Trial of Opposition Officials, Activists For 'Treason' and 'Incitement' Radio Free Asia 29 Dec 2020 -- A court in Cambodia on Tuesday began a trial of acting opposition chief Sam Rainsy and 20 other party members charged with organizing a "coup," inciting soldiers to disobey orders, and "incitement to cause serious social chaos."
- Kosovo Is Losing Its Biggest Supporter In Congress. But It May Be Too Early For Serbia To Celebrate. RFE/RL 29 Dec 2020 -- Kosovo will lose its biggest supporter in the U.S. Congress when Representative Eliot Engel leaves Capitol Hill in January after more than three decades in office.
- End arrests of political opponents in Uganda: UN independent experts UN News 29 Dec 2020 -- A group of independent UN human rights experts called on Ugandan authorities to end the arrest, detention and judicial harassment of political opponents, civil society leaders and human rights defenders.
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