| |2. Russia's Status-6: The Ultimate Nuclear Weapon or an Old Idea That Won't Die?Сб., 20 янв.[−]
According to the latest Nuclear Posture Review, Russia is developing a new nuclear torpedo/drone, the Status 6. While the torpedo (also covered here by Dave Majumdar) offers some alarming new capabilities, it’s not the first such weapon that the Russians have worked on. Nuclear tipped torpedoes have considerable precedent from the Cold War.
|↑|4. Thai police arrest 'kingpin' in Asian wildlife traffickingСб., 20 янв.[−]
Thai police have arrested an alleged kingpin in Asia's illegal trade in endangered species, dealing a blow to a family-run syndicate that smuggles elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts to Chinese and Vietnamese dealers. Boonchai Bach, 40, a Vietnamese national with Thai citizenship, was arrested on Friday evening over the smuggling of 14 rhino horns worth around $1 million from Africa to Thailand.
|↑|9. Confronting China and Russia, not tackling terrorism, is now America's top security priorityСб., 20 янв.[−]
Countering China and Russia is a bigger focus for US national security than defeating terrorism, the American administration announced yesterday. Donald Trump’s new national defence strategy named “inter-state strategic competition” as its primary concern rather than jihadist attacks. It marks a tipping point after almost two decades when the US has focussed on countering terrorism following the September 11 attacks. China, Russia, North Korea and Iran were all mentioned as powers that were threatening the international order. The strategy signals a return of a Cold War-style mentality in American foreign policy that will focus on countering rival great powers. James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense Credit: EPA/WALLACE WOON James Mattis, the US defence secretary, explained the rationale behind the 11-page national defence strategy in a speech on Friday. “We will to continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we’re engaged in today, but great-power competition - not terrorism - is now the primary focus of US national security,” he said. Mr Mattis added: "To those who would threaten America's experiment in democracy: they must know if you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day." The document itself included a similar message: “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” It called out threats posed by rival nations. “China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbours while militarising features in the South China Sea,” it read. US President Donald Trump, right, and Russia's President Vladimir Credit: APEC-SUMMIT “Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbours. “As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions. "Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability.” John McCain, the Republican senator of Arizona, welcomed the strategy, saying: “It gets the big decisions right, prioritises the threats we face, and offers clear guidance for making tough choices.” Mr Mattis also called on Democrats to agree new funding ahead of a midnight Friday deadline, warning that the military would suffer if they blocked budget proposals. Appealing to Congress, he said: "No strategy can survive without predictable funding. As hard as the last 16 years have been, no enemy has harmed the US military more than defence spending caps and sequestration." Mr Trump cancelled his trip to Florida on Friday in an attempt to help avoid a government shutdown as Republicans piled pressure on their political opponents. The US president was due to fly to his Mar-a-Lago resort but stayed in Washington as scrambled negotiations played out behind the scenes. A fierce blame game erupted in the American capital as political rivals pointed the finger at each other over who was at fault. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, accused Democrats of being unpatriotic by threatening to block a funding extension. “The American people, the citizens who actually elected us, will be watching," he said. "They will see which senators make the patriotic decision, stand up for the American people and vote to continue government funding." Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrat in the Senate, noted that Mr Trump once said that America could use “a good shutdown”.
|↑|12. Russia says Iran nuclear deal cannot be saved without USПт., 19 янв.[−]
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday ruled out the possibility of salvaging the Iranian nuclear deal if President Donald Trump decides to pull the United States out of the agreement. "This agreement cannot be implemented if one of the participants unilaterally steps out of it," Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations. Trump last week agreed to again waive US nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but demanded that US lawmakers and European allies fix the "disastrous flaws" in the deal or face a US exit.
|↑|18. Turkey says it will press ahead with all out attack on Kurdish held city of Afrin in SyriaПт., 19 янв.[−]
Turkey said Friday that it would press ahead with a full scale assault on a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria despite pleas from the US to hold back. Ankara has been threatening for days to send its forces into Afrin, a Syrian district near the Turkish border controlled by Kurdish forces who are allied with the US but mortal enemies of Turkey. Turkish troops shelled the area on Friday and said it was moving units of commandos near the border as well as mobilising pro-Turkish Syrian rebel groups for the attack. “This operation will take place; the terror organisation will be cleansed,” said Nurettin Canikli, Turkey’s defence minister. "The operation has actually de facto started with cross border shelling.” Mr Canikli said Syrian opposition fighters would lead the attack with the support of Turkish ground forces. Graphic: Areas of control in Syria As of Friday night, an all out ground invasion did not yet appear to be underway. Turkey has in the past promised a major incursion into northern Syria but pulled back at the last minute. Turkey’s apparent willingness to press ahead with the attack, despite American objections, illustrates the dire state of relations between Washington and Ankara. Turkey has long fumed over America’s decision to ally itself with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). The US has found the Kurds to be effective allies against the jihadists but Turkey accuses them of carrying out terrorist attacks against Turks. Turkish anger reached boiling point this week after US officials said they were helping the YPG to train a 30,000 strong “border force” that would patrol the Syrian side of the Turkish border. Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, hastily tried to ease tensions, insisting that it had been a mistake to call the unit a “border force” but his words have so far done little to appease the Turks. The potential Turkish offensive is complicated by the presence of Russian troops in Afrin. Turkish state media reported that Russian soldiers had evacuated ahead of the offensive but the YPG said they remained in place. Turkish military and intelligence chiefs travelled to Moscow this week to discuss the operation with their Russian counterparts. The Syrian regime warned that any Turkish offensive would be considered "aggressive act” an that Syrian forces would attack Turkish aircraft. But the regime has often issued such warnings to the myriad of foreign militaries operating inside Syria without then acting on them.
|↑|20. Hezbollah slams US decision to keep troops in SyriaПт., 19 янв.[−]
Lebanon's Hezbollah movement on Friday said a US pledge to keep its troops in Syria to defeat the Islamic State group was just a "flimsy excuse" to occupy the country. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that US forces would remain in Syria to both fight IS and counter the influence of President Bashar al-Assad. Assad is a key ally of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which has deployed its forces to keep the Damascus regime in power.
|↑|25. Adulthood now begins at 24, say scientists as young people delay work, marriage and familiesПт., 19 янв.[−]
Adulthood does not begin until 24, scientists have concluded because young people are continuing their education for longer and delaying marriage and parenthood. The traditional definition for adolescence is currently between and the ages of 10 and 19, which marked the beginnings of puberty and the perceived end of biological growth. But, writing in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, scientists from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne argue the timings needs to be changed. They point to the fact that the brain continues to mature beyond the age of 20, and many people’s wisdom teeth do not come through until the age of 25. And people are also getting married and having children later, with the average man entering their first marriage aged 32.5 and women 30.6, an increase of eight years since the 1970s. Families have changed significantly since the 1970s Credit: Fox Photos Lead author Prof Susan Sawyer, said delays in young people leaving education, settling down and becoming parents, showed adolescence was now longer and argued that policies that support youth should be extended beyond teenage years. Countries such as New Zealand already treat children who have been in care as vulnerable until they are 25, allowing them the same rights as youngsters “Age definitions are always arbitrary,” she said, but “our current definition of adolescence is overly restricted.” “The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays.” However other academics argued that just because young people were unmarried or still in education did not mean they were not fully functioning adults. But Dr Jan Macvarish, a parenting sociologist at the University of Kent, told the BBC: “There is nothing inevitably infantilising about spending your early 20s in higher education or experimenting in the world of work. “Society should maintain the highest possible expectations of the next generation.” Prof Sawyer also admits there could be downsides to he plan, particularly if youngsters were no longer seen as responsible or capable of full engagement in society until they were 24. "Such a view would risk disenfranchising adolescents and undermines their rights to fully participate in society," she added.
|↑|28. China Wants Missile Defenses To Stop India (And Kill Satellites)Пт., 19 янв.[−]
India conducted a successful test of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a nuclear-capable Agni-5, on Thursday, underscoring a potential threat to China as well as Pakistan. China is also within range of nuclear-armed North Korean missiles and Japan is mulling whether it should develop similar capabilities.
|↑|30. Deported Man's Wife Will Be State Of The Union GuestПт., 19 янв.[−]
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) was so moved by the story of Jorge Garcia, a 39-year-old man deported to Mexico this week after living most of his life in the U.S., that she plans to bring his wife Cindy Garcia as her plus-one guest to the 2018 State of the Union address.
|↑|39. Abuse in house of torture was 'severe, pervasive, prolonged'Пт., 19 янв.[−]
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A California couple tortured a dozen of their children for years, starving them to the point that their growth was stunted, chaining them to their beds for up to months, preventing them from using the toilet at times and forbidding them from showering more than once a year, a prosecutor said Thursday.
|↑|40. 'Tourniquet killer' put to death in first US execution of 2018Пт., 19 янв.[−]
A confessed murderer in Texas, dubbed the "tourniquet killer" for the way he strangled his victims, on Thursday became the first inmate executed in the United States in 2018. Anthony Shore was put to death for raping, torturing and murdering three girls and a young woman in Houston in the 1980s and 1990s. To the family of my victims, I wish I could undo that past.
|↑|41. Astronaut expected to be the 1st African-American Space Station crewmember won't fly in 2018 after allПт., 19 янв.[−]
Jeanette Epps, who was set to become the first-ever African-American astronaut to be a crewmember on the International Space Station, will not fly to space in 2018 as scheduled, NASA announced late Thursday. It's not clear why Epps was reassigned from her flight. The decision pulls her from her slated mission, which was expected to launch in June. "A number of factors are considered when making flight assignments; these decisions are personnel matters for which NASA doesn’t provide information," NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean said via email. SEE ALSO: NASA's first African-American Space Station crewmember is your new role model NASA astronaut Serena Au??n-Chancellor "... is taking the place of astronaut Jeanette Epps, who will return to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to assume duties in the Astronaut Office and be considered for assignment to future missions," NASA said in a statement. That mission would have been Epps's first flight to space. NASA announced Epps's flight assignment in 2017, and it immediately went viral. Dozens of media organizations (including Mashable) wrote about Epps and her groundbreaking scheduled flight to the Space Station. While six other African-American astronauts have spent time on the Space Station, Epps was expected to become the first to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory as a full crewmember on a months-long mission. Epps made it to NASA as one of 14 astronaut candidates in the space agency's 2009 class. NASA received 3,500 astronaut applications that year. She arrived at this assignment after having a somewhat non-traditional career for an astronaut. She started off as a NASA fellow at the University of Maryland before moving on to work at a lab at Ford Motor Company, NASA said. Epps then spent more than seven years working as a technical intelligence officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. "I did a lot of scientific stuff, but I also did a lot of operational stuff," Epps said in a video interview released by NASA in 2015. "We worked in non-proliferation issues, which was great. It's reverse engineering at its best." Epps was inspired to become an astronaut from an early age, when she saw the first group of American women who were chosen to fly to space. "It was about 1980, I was nine years old. My brother came home and he looked at my grades and my twin sisters' grades and he said, 'You know, you guys can probably become aerospace engineers or even astronauts,'" Epps said in the video. "And this was at the time that Sally Ride [the first American woman to fly in space] and a group of women were selected to become astronauts — the first time in history. So, he made that comment and I said, 'Wow, that would be so cool.'" WATCH: What de-orbiting the International Space Station means
|↑|47. California parents starved 13 children, taunted them with pie: prosecutorПт., 19 янв.[−]
The father, David Turpin, 57, is also accused of sexually abusing one of his young daughters, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin told reporters in announcing the charges before the couple's first court appearance later on Thursday. Turpin and his wife, Louise, 49, each faces 94 years to life in prison if convicted on the more than two dozen charges that include torture, child abuse and false imprisonment. The couple pleaded not guilty to all charges during a brief hearing before Judge Michael Donner, who ordered each defendant to remain held on $12 million bail and set the next hearing in the case for Feb. 23.