25 February 2021 Military News
- Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Briefs Reporters on Defensive Precision Strike DoD 25 Feb 2021
- U.S. Conducts Defensive Precision Strike DoD 25 Feb 2021 -- At President Biden's direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria."
- U.S. Conducts Defensive Airstrikes Against Iranian-backed Militia in Syria DoD News 25 Feb 2021 -- American forces have struck at an Iranian-backed militia in Syria that launched rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters traveling with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin.
- Two roadside bombs hit US-led coalition convoys in Baghdad, central Iraq Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Two roadside bombs have separately struck two convoys of trucks carrying logistical equipment belonging to the US-led coalition forces in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad as well as the central province of Babil.
- German Troop Would Remain In Afghanistan Until January 2022 Under New Draft Mandate RFE/RL Gandhara 25 Feb 2021 -- The German government has approved a new draft mandate under which German troops would stay in Afghanistan into early next year.
- 'Policy Nightmare': Biden's Options In Afghanistan Fraught With Risks RFE/RL Gandhara 25 Feb 2021 -- After 20 years of military engagement, the U.S. war in Afghanistan is at a crossroads.
- Texas ANG delivers water, aid after winter storm US Air Force 25 Feb 2021 -- A winter storm without a name is just chilly weather. But when the National Weather Service names it, it becomes the winter storm of a lifetime … or at least in the eyes of Texas.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Democrats Want Biden to Relinquish Sole Authority for Nuclear Launches VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- The president of the United States, always accompanied by a military aide carrying a satchel containing nuclear launch codes, has sole authority to order nuclear warfare or respond in kind to such an enemy attack.
- Secretary of Defense Addresses Vaccine Hesitancy in Military DoD News 25 Feb 2021 -- After a tour of a mass COVID-19 vaccination site in Los Angeles, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin addressed the hesitancy that some service members have about getting the vaccine.
- DOD Officials Provide COVID-19 Response Update DoD News 25 Feb 2021 -- Three Defense Department officials spoke today at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the department's support for the COVID-19 response.
- Austin Praises 'Whole-of-Government, All-of-Nation' Effort Against COVID-19 DoD News 25 Feb 2021 -- Service members are making a true contribution to their fellow citizens at the "mega-vaccination center" at California State University Los Angeles, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.
- U.S. Access to Space Is a Vital National Interest DoD News 25 Feb 2021 -- The United States' freedom to maneuver in space is a vital national interest that underpins national security, intelligence efforts, treaty verification and the economy, Chief of Space Operations, Space Force Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond said.
- AFRICOM commander visit to Ghana highlights U.S. support for joint security cooperation AFRICOM 25 Feb 2021 -- U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command, conducted a two-day visit to Ghana, Feb. 23-24. This was Townsend's first visit to the country, where he met with Ghanaian leaders and U.S. Embassy personnel in Accra.
- Dutch military, 405th AFSB work together at APS-2 Eygelshoven, prepare for DE21 Army News 25 Feb 2021 -- The cooperation and coordination between U.S. Army Europe and Africa and the U.S. military's many allied and partner nation forces here in Europe is vitally important to promoting stability and security, strengthening partnerships, and fostering trust in the region. And as USAREUR-AF prepares for DEFENDER-Europe 21, scheduled for this spring, the exercise's cooperation and coordination has already begun.
- Austin Praises Nimitz Carrier Strike Group for Record-Breaking Deployment DoD News 25 Feb 2021 -- Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III flew out to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off the coast of California to thank the crew for a record-setting deployment.
- Navy Central Command Exercises Air Defense Capabilities With Army, Air Force Counterparts US Navy 25 Feb 2021 -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) and guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) participated in Joint Air Defense Exercise (JADEX) 21-01 alongside forces from U.S. Army Central Command (ARCENT) and U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) in the Gulf of Oman, Feb. 17-19.
- NATO to step up work on Human Security Approach NATO 25 Feb 2021 -- On 25 February 2021, at a high-level online conference, NATO discussed how to enhance its human security approach as part of a broader collective effort with an international community of interest including national experts, civil society, think tank and academic representatives.
- Russian T-14 Armata Tank Able to Detect Targets Without Participation of Crew, Source Claims Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- In 2022, Russia will launch serial supplies of its cutting-edge post-war generation tank, the T-14 Armata, touted to have no equal. With its combat module unmanned and completely remote-controlled, its crew can remain isolated from the fuel section and munitions, meaning that survivability is increased.
- China's Naval Strength Gives It Crucial Clout in Negotiations around Asia VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- China's increasing naval power, the country having surpassed the United States as the world's largest maritime force, is giving Beijing crucial sway in negotiations with Asian governments that dispute its claims at sea, experts say.
- PLA Navy expedition group crosses equator Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- A Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy expedition group led by a Type 052D destroyer recently crossed the equator as it sailed further into the open sea, and such missions enable the PLA to get familiar with the high seas as China eyes to build a blue-water navy, experts said on Thursday.
- China and Singapore conduct joint naval exercise in South China Sea to 'address risks' Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- The joint military drill between China and Singapore in the South China Sea shows the two countries are jointly addressing risks and challenges with the determination to safeguard regional peace and stability, Chinese military researchers said.
- PLA Navy commissions two Type 056A corvettes PLA Daily 25 Feb 2021 -- Two Type 056A corvettes, Nanyang (Hull 619) and Shangqiu (Hull 618) were recently commissioned to the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, according to a report by China Central Television (CCTV) recently.
- PLA naval escort taskforce carries out armed rescue drill in Gulf of Aden PLA Daily 25 Feb 2021 -- The 37th escort taskforce of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, who is carrying out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden, held an anti-terrorism and anti-piracy drill featuring the rescue of hijacked merchant ships.
- Iranian Navy's presence disrupts enemy's equations: Cmdr IRNA 25 Feb 2021 -- Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said on Thursday that deployment of flotillas of Iranian Navy to international waters has disrupted the equations of the enemy and have foiled their plans to make the sea insecure for trade ships.
- A first for F-35A maintenance Australia DOD 25 Feb 2021 -- Hot on the heels of Australia's F-35A Lightning II fleet achieving initial operational capability, another important sustainment milestone has been met.
- Minehunters flex muscles during exercise Australia DOD 25 Feb 2021 -- HMA Ships Gascoyne and Diamantina flexed their mine-hunting muscles this week during the first phase of their Fleet Certification Period in Jervis Bay.
- Secretary Blinken's Call with Dutch Foreign Minister Blok US Dept. of State 25 Feb 2021
- Secretary Blinken's Call with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister al-Sabah US Dept. of State 25 Feb 2021
- Department Press Briefing – February 25, 2021 US Dept. of State 25 Feb 2021
- Readout of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Call with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya The White House 25 Feb 2021
- Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, February 25, 2021 The White House 25 Feb 2021
- Briefing with Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Acting Assistant Secretary Julie J. Chung On Secretary Blinken's Upcoming Virtual Trip to Canada and Mexico US Dept. of State 25 Feb 2021
- 25 February 2021 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 25 Feb 2021
- Japan warned not to provoke China as media hypes up possibility of conflict in Diaoyu Islands after Galwan Valley clash Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- While Chinese people mourn the four martyrs killed in the June 2020 border conflict with Indian troops at Galwan Valley, Japanese media made a "wild and groundless" guess that a similar conflict is very likely to be provoked in the sea with Japan next time, referring to China's Diaoyu Islands, where the two countries have had a long sovereignty dispute.
- Yemen appreciates Iran's support amid Western-backed war Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Yemen's Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf Abdullah has expressed gratitude to the Iranian people and government for standing by the impoverished nation, which has long been suffering from a Western-sponsored war, dismissing accusations that Tehran is prolonging the conflict.
- Syria: Economic decline, rising hunger and surging humanitarian needs UN News 25 Feb 2021 -- Syria's fragile economy has "suffered multiple shocks" over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council on Thursday.
- Libyan PM-designate Dbeibeh to propose unified government under UN aegis Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Libya's designated Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh will propose a unified government to the North African country's divided parliament as part of a peace plan.
- Crimea is Ukraine US Dept. of State 25 Feb 2021 -- The United States joins Ukraine in marking the seventh anniversary of Russia's invasion and seizure of Crimea — a brazen affront to the modern international order. We affirm this basic truth: Crimea is Ukraine.
- Joint Statement India PIB 25 Feb 2021 -- The Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan held discussions over the established mechanism of hotline contact. The two sides reviewed the situation along the Line of Control and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere.
- Pakistan, India Agree to Immediate Ceasefire, Restoring 2003 Truce VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- Pakistan and India have agreed to immediately cease military hostilities in disputed Kashmir by restoring a 2003 truce to deescalate tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.
- Pakistan, India agree to end firing along disputed Kashmir border Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Pakistan and India have agreed to strictly observe a ceasefire along the de facto border in disputed Kashmir, following months of clashes between the two countries.
- India, Pakistan Agree to Stop Cross-Border Fire in Kashmir After 2 Record Years of Violations Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- The two countries had been accusing each other of a record number of ceasefire violations since the Narendra Modi government revoked Jammu and Kashmir's temporary special status in August 2019. However, several surprise statements were made from Pakistan's establishment earlier this month, indicating thaw in bitterness over the Kashmir dispute.
- 184,000 Displaced in West Darfur Need Food, Shelter VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- More than 180,000 people who were displaced during recent fighting in Sudan's Darfur region are in dire need of food, shelter and other assistance according to the International Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC).
- Impunity for Civil War Crimes in Sri Lanka Risks Future Offenses, UN Says VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- A report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council warns of future violations and instability in Sri Lanka because of the government's repeated failure to redress past violations and bring justice to the victims.
- Influential South Sudan Chiefs Warn of Conflict Over Land Grabs VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- Ten traditional chiefs from South Sudan's Central Equatoria state have demanded the state government stop a campaign of illegal land grabs and are threatening the use of force unless officials intervene.
- DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for $1.87 Billion in Preparedness Grants DHS 25 Feb 2021 -- Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas today announced the release of the funding notice for eight different types of preparedness grants worth nearly $1.87 billion. Together, these programs provide more than $1.8 billion in critical funding to assist our state and local partners in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other disasters.
- Cyberattacks on French Hospitals Linked to Mafia, Not Foreign Involvement, Official Says Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- French Secretary of State for the Digital Economy Cedric O on Thursday told the France 2 broadcaster that it was mafia-linked groups rather than foreign interference behind recent cyberattacks on French hospitals and related leaks of patient data.
- Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Advances Its Work on Operational Measures to Prosecute Terrorist Financing and Virtual Assets US Treasury 25 Feb 2021 -- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concluded its second plenary meeting during the German Presidency, its third virtual plenary since the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The FATF advanced its work on several important issues, including finalizing a non-public report on terrorist financing and agreeing to seek public comment on updated guidance documents on virtual assets and proliferation finance.
- UN agencies begin registering asylum seekers at US-Mexico border UN News 25 Feb 2021 -- UN agencies have begun preparing individuals and families at the Matamoros informal camp, near the United States-Mexico border, for entry into the US, following the termination of a policy that forced asylum seekers to wait for immigration hearings in Mexico.
- Former Air Force Contractor Pleads Guilty to Illegally Taking 2,500 Pages of Classified Information US Dept. of Justice 25 Feb 2021 -- A former contractor with the U.S. Air Force pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio today to illegally taking approximately 2,500 pages of classified documents.
- CIA Created Task Force to Investigate Acoustic Attacks on US Intelligence Officers, Reports Say Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has created a task force to investigate the suspected mysterious acoustic attacks on US intelligence officers, CNN broadcaster reported.
- German Man Charged With Spying At Bundestag For Russia RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- German prosecutors say they have filed espionage charges against a German man suspected of passing the floor plan for the parliament building in Berlin to Russian intelligence services.
- German National Charged With Passing Secret Information to Russia From Bundestag, Prosecutors Say Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- The suspect is alleged to have collected secret data from the parliament building and passed it on to a Russian intelligence operative attached to the Russian Embassy in Berlin.
- Supporters of Myanmar's Military Junta Clash with Anti-Coup Demonstrators VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- The political crisis in Myanmar took a new turn Thursday when supporters of the military junta in Yangon attacked demonstrators protesting the February 1 overthrow of the civilian government.
- ASEAN Criticized For Not Taking Stronger Stand on Myanmar Radio Free Asia 25 Feb 2021 -- Neighboring countries are under pressure to take a stronger stance against the junta in Myanmar, a day after the foreign ministers of Indonesia and Thailand met in Bangkok with its top envoy.
- Myanmar Threats, Arrests of Journalists at Anti-Coup Protests Raise Alarms Radio Free Asia 25 Feb 2021 -- Journalists covering mass street protests against Myanmar's military junta are increasingly reporting threats, arrests and harassment from authorities tightening a crackdown on opponents of the Feb. 1 coup in what a local press watchdog called an attempted "news blackout."
- Pro-Army Mobs Attack Myanmar Protesters in Escalation of Violence in Myanmar Radio Free Asia 25 Feb 2021 -- Mobs of pro-military thugs with iron rods, knives, and slingshots attacked anti-coup protesters at a popular rally site in Myanmar's largest city on Thursday, injuring at least 20 people after being unleashed on demonstrators, the protesters said.
- UK Announces Further Sanctions on Myanmar's Military, Foreign Minister Raab Says Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- Earlier this week, Britain's Foreign Office summoned Kyaw Zwar Minn, Myanmar's ambassador to the UK, to condemn the Myanmar Security Forces' response to the peaceful protests in the country.
- UK sanctions further Myanmar military figures for role in coup: 25 February 2021 UK FCDO 25 Feb 2021 -- Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announces further sanctions against members of Myanmar's State Administration Council.
- Biden Nominee To Head CIA Sees Russia As Potent Threat RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- U.S. President Joe Biden's nominee to run the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has told lawmakers that the "biggest geopolitical test" the United States faces comes from China but said Russia remains a familiar threat.
- Russia 'has no plans to sever EU ties, will respond to further hostility' Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Russia's envoy to the European Union (EU) says his country has no plans to sever relations with the EU but if the bloc adopts further "destructive" measures against Moscow, they "definitely won't go without consequences."
- Navalny Moved To Prison Where He'll Serve 2 1/2 Years RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- Russian opposition political leader Aleksei Navalny has been moved from the Moscow detention center where he has been held since mid-January and is believed to be en route to a prison where he will begin serving a 2 1/2 year sentence.
- Navalny's Failure To Renounce Nationalist Past May Be Straining His Support RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- An assassination attempt made Aleksei Navalny into a globally recognized dissident, a Russian opposition leader who courted Chancellor Angela Merkel from his hospital bed and collaborated with leading Western news outlets in investigating the near-fatal poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.
- Austria To Extradite Former Russian Official Wanted For Embezzlement RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- Austrian authorities have placed Boris Mazo, a former employee of the Russian Culture Ministry who is wanted in Russia for fraud and embezzlement, into pre-extradition detention despite the insistence of his defense team he cannot be transported for medical reasons.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on February 25, 2021 PRC MofA 25 Feb 2021
- China Launches All-Out Propaganda Campaign as Xi Jinping Claims Poverty is Over Radio Free Asia 25 Feb 2021 -- The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is launching a nationwide propaganda effort ahead of the centenary of the party's founding on July 1, lauding general secretary Xi Jinping's "victory" over poverty and ordering officials to watch patriotic TV shows.
- Xi hails China's poverty eradication miracle PLA Daily 25 Feb 2021 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday hailed the country's achievement of eradicating extreme poverty as a miracle that shall "go down in history."
- Xi charts road map for rural vitalization after victory in poverty fight PLA Daily 25 Feb 2021 -- Building on its victory in eradicating absolute poverty, China is moving on to push for rural vitalization along with renewed efforts to consolidate the achievements made in the fight against poverty.
- Xi declares "complete victory" in eradicating absolute poverty in China Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday that China has scored a "complete victory" in its fight against poverty.
- Xi hails miraculous achievement of poverty reduction, inspiring nation for higher goals with spirit of poverty alleviation Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping solemnly declared "complete victory" on eradicating extreme poverty in China at a national commendation conference on Thursday - four months before the centennial of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) - marking another great miracle the Party leading the world's most populous nation has accomplished.
- China solemnly declares complete victory in eradicating absolute poverty Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- President Xi Jinping solemnly declared China's "complete victory" in eradicating absolute poverty during a conference in Beijing on Thursday. The announcement of this great miracle in the human history of poverty reduction came four months before the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which leads the world's most populous nation.
- Socialist system's advantages, CPC leadership key to China's miraculous poverty alleviation success Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- The satellites around the Earth may have witnessed the great changes in China through the past eight years - the night of the country's vast western areas has been illuminated by more lights, the roads to remote and small villages have extended and bridges have been erected, new residential communities have appeared in livable areas and mountains and deserts are covered in green.
- Xi: Shaking off poverty 'starting point' of new life People's Daily 25 Feb 2021
- China Posts Impressive Economic Recovery, but Can Growth Continue? VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- China's economic recovery is notable, some analysts say, after suffering serious pandemic-driven setbacks for the majority of last year. By most accounts, China's economic numbers at the start of its lunar new year in early February was more significant than those put out by governments in other developed countries.
- Competition overshadows cooperation? New US envoy should help avoid 'lose-lose confrontation' Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- US President Joe Biden has yet to appoint a new ambassador to China, but the US State Department said that the new ambassador's job is to "steward an approach to China that has competition at the center." Chinese analysts said on Thursday that US State Department statement sends a convoluted message, and that the new ambassador should work with China on rulemaking to ensure competition won't fall into another lose-lose confrontation.
- Certain countries turn blind eye to facts, spread lies about China: Chinese diplomat Global Times 25 Feb 2021 -- Turning a blind eye to facts, certain countries fabricated and spread lies about Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong in vicious vilification of China, a Chinese diplomat said here Wednesday.
- Dutch MPs Pass Motion Recognizing Abuses in Xinjiang as Genocide Radio Free Asia 25 Feb 2021 -- The Dutch House of Representatives on Thursday voted to recognize China's abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) as genocide, becoming the first parliament in Europe to do so as pressure mounted on Western leaders to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
- Taiwan slams China for tightening religious freedom through law CNA 25 Feb 2021 -- Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) slammed China on Thursday for clamping down further on religious freedom and vowed to cooperate more closely with the Vatican to defend such freedom after Beijing recently issued a set of rules on religious clergies.
- With Chinese Media Under Control, Beijing Sets Sights on Foreign News VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- The future of foreign reporting in China is being brought into question as the Chinese government aims to consolidate its control on media.
- Tianwen-1 probe's successful entry into Mars orbit represents China's ambitious endeavor to make innovations People's Daily 25 Feb 2021 -- China's first Mars exploration mission Tianwen-1 successfully slowed down for the third time near Mars at 06:29 a.m. on Feb. 24 Beijing time and entered the Mars parking orbit. The Mars probe will spend about three months conducting scientific surveys in the parking orbit.
- China's 'gray-zone' warfare against Taiwan at highest level: scholars CNA 25 Feb 2021 -- China's "gray-zone" warfare targeting Taiwan is now at its highest level, which could signal a full-scale invasion, local military experts warned Thursday.
- U.S. review of supply chains beneficial to Taiwan: scholar CNA 25 Feb 2021 -- A decision by U.S. President Joe Biden to launch a comprehensive review of the country's critical supply chains will be beneficial for Taiwan, as the U.S. has indicated that it will work with its allies in this regard, a Taiwanese scholar said Thursday.
- Chinese military denounces US destroyer's provocation in Taiwan Strait PLA Daily 25 Feb 2021 -- "The USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) sailed through the Taiwan Strait on February 24. China is firmly opposed to it," said Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, spokesperson for the Chinese PLA Eastern Theater Command, in a written statement on Thursday.
- US undermining regional stability by sailing warships through Taiwan Strait: China Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- China's military has slammed the United States for undermining regional "peace and stability," after a US Navy warship once again sailed through the Taiwan Strait, which separates self-ruled Taiwan from mainland China.
- China Blasts US for Undermining Regional Peace as American Destroyer Sails Through Taiwan Strait Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- Earlier, the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur joined the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force replenishment ship JS Hamana and light frigate FNS Prairial to conduct a tri-lateral replenishment-at-sea.
- Second U.S. warship transits Taiwan Strait under Biden administration CNA 25 Feb 2021 -- A U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer transited through the Taiwan Strait in a routine operation on Wednesday, the second by a U.S. battleship since President Joe Biden assumed office in January.
- $2.3 Billion Awarded to USS Pueblo Crew, But How to Collect From North Korea? VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- More than 50 years ago, North Korea captured the USS Pueblo and subjected the spy ship's crew to "barbarity" for almost a year, treatment that "required medical and/or psychiatric intervention" for the men upon their release in December 1968.
- US Court Orders N. Korea to Pay $2.3 Billion to Crew Members of USS Pueblo VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- The former crew of a U.S. intelligence ship seized by North Korea in 1968 are entitled to more than $2.3 billion in damages from Pyongyang for "the pain and suffering" they suffered during 11 months of captivity, a federal judge has ruled.
- DPRK top leader emphasizes "moral discipline" within army People's Daily 25 Feb 2021 -- Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Wednesday emphasized establishing "the revolutionary moral discipline" within the Korean People's Army (KPA), the official Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday.
- North Korea's Kim Appoints New Navy, Air Force Chiefs in 'Generation Shift' in Army Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for tougher discipline within the army and appointed new chiefs of the navy and the air force as he chaired an enlarged meeting of the central military commission, state media reported on Thursday.
- First Enlarged Meeting of Eighth Central Military Commission of WPK Held KCNA 25 Feb 2021 -- The First Enlarged Meeting of the 8th Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) took place at the office building of the Central Committee of the WPK on Feb. 24.
- Chairman of WPK Central Military Commission Kim Jong Un Gives Order to Promote Military Ranks of Commanding Officers KCNA 25 Feb 2021 -- Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), on Feb. 24 gave an order to promote the military ranks of major commanding officers.
- Republic of Korea tests homegrown space rocket's first-stage engines SPA 25 Feb 2021 -- Republic of Korea successfully conducted the second combustion test for the first-stage engines of its locally built space launch vehicle, pushing forward for a launch set for October this year, the science ministry said Thursday, according to Yonhap News Agency.
- Zarif: Remove cause of Iran's reduction of JCPOA commitments IRNA 25 Feb 2021 -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a Twitter message on Thursday that the US has admitted that Iran stepped away from its commitments because the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany and Iran.
- FM Zarif: US behavior prompted Iran to take steps away from JCPOA Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Iran's foreign minister has reiterated that the United States' actions were the main reason prompting his country to suspend its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, urging Washington to lift its illegal sanctions to "remove the cause" of the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.
- US must secure return to JCPOA by lifting bans, no need for talks: Iran envoy to UN Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- The Iranian envoy to the UN says there is no need for negotiations over America's potential return to the 2015 nuclear deal, and that Washington must secure a return to the accord by lifting its sanctions within the next three months, a timeframe agreed between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog over nuclear inspections beyond the February 21 deadline set by Iran.
- US agrees in principle to S Korea's partial release of Iran's assets: Report Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- The United States has reportedly agreed in principle to partial release of some $7 billion in Iranian assets that South Korean banks have frozen in line with Washington's inhumane economic sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.
- EU Extends Postelection Sanctions On Belarus Officials RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- The European Union has extended for one year sanctions targeting dozens of Belarusian officials, including longtime authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
- Belarus human rights situation deteriorating further, warns UN rights chief UN News 25 Feb 2021 -- A "systematic crackdown" against dissent in Belarus is continuing, months since the country's disputed presidential election last year, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has told the Human Rights Council.
- Massive Violations Against Government Opponents in Belarus Continue Unabated VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- A report submitted Thursday to the U.N. Human Rights Council finds massive violations against anti-government protesters in the run-up to the August presidential elections in Belarus and its aftermath. The report covers serious violations between May 1 and December 20, 2020.
- Kazakh President Proposes Ban On Sale, Lease Of Farmland By Foreigners RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has proposed a ban on the purchase and renting of farmland by foreigners ahead of the expiration of a moratorium on land sales.
- Biden Calls King Salman as US Recalibrates Relations With Saudis VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- U.S. President Joe Biden called Saudi Arabian King Salman on Thursday as his administration is set to release a congressionally mandated declassified version of an intelligence report that is expected to find the king's son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Secretary Blinken's Call with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud US Dept. of State 25 Feb 2021
- Readout of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Call with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia The White House 25 Feb 2021
- Khashoggi's assassins flew on planes under control of MBS: CNN Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Leaked Saudi documents show that the assassination squad that killed Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi flew to the Turkish city of Istanbul on private jets owned by a company under the full control of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), a report says.
- Top Secret' Saudi Documents Reveal Khashoggi Killers Used Jets Owned by Crown Prince, Report Claims Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- Saudi-born Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in 2018 in the Saudi embassy in the Turkish capital city of Istanbul. After facing accusations of being involved in the journalist's murder, Riyadh sentenced eight suspects in 2019.
- Ukrainian President Appoints Ex-Finance Minister As New Ambassador To U.S. RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has officially appointed former finance minister Oksana Markarova as the country's new ambassador to the United States as he seeks improved ties with Washington.
- Armenian Prime Minister Accuses Army of Coup Attempt VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- Armenia's prime minister declared Thursday that the army's demand for his resignation was a coup attempt in the former Soviet republic.
- Armenian PM tells army to obey people as thousands rally in his support in Yerevan Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Thousands of people in the Armenian capital have filled the streets to voice their support for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who said the military had staged an attempted coup against him, telling generals that they must obey people and steer clear of politics.
- Armenian PM warns of coup attempt after army demand of resignation Press TV 25 Feb 2021 -- Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has warned of an attempted military coup against him, following a request by the Armenian army that he step down over the alleged mishandling of a 2020 conflict with Azerbaijan.
- Armenian PM Calls For Calm Amid Claims Of 'Attempted Coup' By Military RFE/RL 25 Feb 2021 -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has called on soldiers to "do your job" and defend the country after he denounced "an attempted military coup" after a group of army officers wrote a letter demanding his resignation.
- Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan Accuses Military of Attempted Coup After Demand to Leave Post Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- In December, Pashinyan invited political forces for consultations on the early parliamentary elections planned for 2021, but the opposition wants him to resign before the elections.
- Thailand Court Rejects Appeal for Petition Against Laos' Pak Beng Dam Radio Free Asia 25 Feb 2021 -- A court in Thailand has refused to hear an appeal on a case concerning a large-scale Mekong River mainstream dam in Laos, a blow to Thai civic groups concerned about the dam's potential transboundary environmental impact.
- Netanyahu Asks Biden to Keep US Sanctions on Int'l Criminal Court Officials, Reports Say Sputnik 25 Feb 2021 -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US President Joe Biden during a recent phone conversation to keep sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) officials, imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump, Axios reported, citing Israeli officials.
- Designation of Former Prosecutor General Dobroslav Trnka of the Slovak Republic for Involvement in Significant Corruption US Dept. of State 25 Feb 2021 -- "Today, I am announcing the public designation of former Prosecutor General Dobroslav Trnka of the Slovak Republic due to his involvement in significant corruption."
- US Restoration of Foreign Aid to Ethiopia Signals New Course VOA 25 Feb 2021 -- The Biden administration reversed a policy that had linked foreign aid to Ethiopia to its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) hydropower project signaling a decided change in U.S. relations with Ethiopia, analysts say.
- West Africa steps up efforts to tackle latest Ebola threat UN News 25 Feb 2021 -- As a new Ebola outbreak threatens Guinea, six neighboring countries are urgently scaling up preparation and response efforts to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday
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