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The latest news on Defense from Business Insider

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    F-35ASYDNEY (Reuters) - A hacker stole non-classified information about Australia’s Joint Strike Fighter program and other military hardware last year after breaching the network of a defense contractor, the defense industry minister said on Thursday.

    About 30 gigabytes of data was stolen in the cyber attack, including details of the Joint Strike Fighter warplane and P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane, according to a presentation on the hack by a government official.

    “Fortunately the data that has been taken is commercial data, not military data ... it’s not classified information,” Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio.

    “I don’t know who did it.”

    In a presentation to a conference in Sydney, an official from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) intelligence agency said technical information on smart bombs, the Joint Strike Fighter, the Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and several naval vessels was stolen.

    “The compromise was extensive and extreme,” said the official, Mitchell Clarke, in an audio recording made by a ZDNet journalist and broadcast by the ABC.

    Clarke said the attacker accessed the small contractor’s systems for five months in 2016, and the “methodical, slow and deliberate,” choice of target suggested a nation-state actor could be behind the raid.

    Australia has agreed to buy 72 Lockheed Martin Corp Joint Strike Fighter planes.

    P 8A_Poseidon

    A spokesman for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), a government agency, said the government would not release further details about the cyber attack.

    The ACSC said in a report on Monday that it responded to 734 cyber attacks on “systems of national interest” for the year ended June 30, and the defense industry was a major target.

    The attack on the defense contractor was carried out by a “malicious cyber adversary”, it said.

    In 2016 the agency said it responded to 1,095 cyber attacks over an 18-month period, including an intrusion from a foreign intelligence service on the weather bureau.

    SEE ALSO: The US may send B-2 bombers and F-22 stealth jets to South Korea — a potential nightmare for Pyongyang

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Scientists think they've finally solved the mystery of the 'alien megastructure' star


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    Mikhail Gorbachev won in 1990 for

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, said on Thursday a landmark arms control treaty that helped end the Cold War was in peril and called for a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to save it.

    Gorbachev, 86, said U.S.-Russia relations were in the throes of a "severe crisis" and that the treaty, which banned all Soviet and American short and intermediate-range land-based nuclear and conventional missiles, was now at serious risk.

    Gorbachev signed the pact - the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty - in 1987 along with then U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington. Russia, after the 1991 Soviet collapse, took on its obligations.

    Both sides have accused each other of violating the treaty in recent months however, stoking fears it might break down as U.S.-Russia ties continue to deteriorate amid allegations that Moscow interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, something Russia flatly denies.

    Gorbachev, writing in government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, said the INF treaty was in danger and that Trump and Putin needed to meet and discuss the problems of nuclear disarmament and strategic stability.

    "It has turned out to be the most vulnerable link in the system of limiting and reducing weapons of mass destruction," Gorbachev wrote of the landmark treaty.

    "If the system of curbing nuclear arms crumbles, and that is exactly what the collapse of the INF treaty can lead to, the consequences will be catastrophic."

    Putin Missile

    The INF treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and forego all nuclear ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 Km, eliminating an entire category of weapon.

    Appealing to Trump and Putin, Gorbachev said he wanted to see a "fully-fledged" U.S.-Russia summit of the kind he took part in toward the end of the Cold War.

    "It's totally abnormal for the presidents of nuclear powers to meet somewhere 'on the sidelines' (of an event) and that they have only met once," Gorbachev wrote, referring to a meeting between Trump and Putin at the G-20 summit in Germany in July.

    "If the INF treaty could be saved, it would be a powerful signal for the whole world that the biggest nuclear powers understand their responsibility and take their obligations seriously," wrote Gorbachev.

    SEE ALSO: Russia violated a ‘key cornerstone’ of arms control — and it may cause a nuclear arms race

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Scientists think they've finally solved the mystery of the 'alien megastructure' star


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    Trump navy uss gerald r ford military

    President Donald Trump gave an interview to Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday night where he discussed the North Korean crisis and perhaps a dangerous overconfidence in US missile defenses.

    Asked about the threat North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose to the US, Trump said the issue should have been handled in previous administrations, and praised China for its cooperation with a US-led sanctions push against Pyongyang.

    But Trump also seemed to put faith in a not-so-reliable element the US's defense against North Korea.

    "We build the greatest military equipment in the world," Trump told Hannity. "We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them, it's going to get knocked out."

    The exact missile defense system referenced by Trump remains unclear, but the US only has one program designed to protect the mainland from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM): The ground-based midcourse defense (GMD).

    According to Lauren Grego, the senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, the GMD's "single shot kill probability" for an ICBM is unknown. Even in "optimistic conditions," Grego gives the GMD about a 50 percent chance of knocking out a single ICBM. By firing four missile interceptors for every incoming ICBM threat, that chance climbs to 94 percent, Grego calculated.

    Grego's estimates sit well with the GMD's track record, made public by the Missile Defense Agency.

    The US does have other missile defense systems with records closer to 97 percent, but they do not defend the US mainland in its entirety or defend against ICBMs.

    The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system launches during a flight test from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S., May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

    Trump's overconfidence may signal a dangerous dismissal of the very real threat posed to the US by North Korea's nuclear-tipped ICBMs in development — or it may be part of a deliberate strategy.

    Tong Zhao, a leading North Korea expert with the Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program in Beijing, told Business Insider that nuclear nations have to assume the worst of their enemies' capabilities. Basically, North Korea would never fire on the US unless it could be absolutely sure its missiles would achieve their intended purpose.

    But, "the US will never allow [North Korea] to feel their deterrent is credible," Zhao said. One way the US will do that is by continued investment in missile defenses and talk of cyber capabilities that can wipe out its command structure.

    Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of country's founding father Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

    Even China, which has had a credible nuclear deterrent for decades, fears the US's THAAD missile defense systems in South Korea could leave them defenseless to a US attack.

    But while a bluff from Trump could deter North Korea, Zhao points out that Pyongyang's feeling of insecurity will likely breed more and more dangerous nuclear and missile testing and deepen the stalemate between the two countries.

    SEE ALSO: Trump expected to visit South Korea to send a 'significant' message to North Korea

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    NOW WATCH: The 4 longest range missiles in the world


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    Kim Jong Un computer hacking

    A South Korea lawmaker recently disclosed that hackers suspected to be North Korean gained access to Seoul's highly secured military intranet in September 2016 and made off with the US and South Korea's secret war plans.

    "It's a ridiculous mistake," the lawmaker, Rhee Cheol-hee, told The Wall Street Journal.

    North Korean personnel reportedly attacked a South Korean cybersecurity firm and embedded themselves in the software. South Korea's military used the software on its military computers, but the North Koreans still shouldn't have been able to get in because Seoul keeps its internet, or outwardly connected network, separate from its intranet, or private network.

    But it took only one computer plugged into both the internet and the intranet for the North Koreans to break in, The Journal reported.

    "They should have removed the connector jack immediately after maintenance work," Rhee said.

    As a result, North Korea reportedly got ahold of Operation Plan 5015, the US and South Korea's secret war plan to kill the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    Since the hack, the US has repeatedly revised military options for dealing with North Korea, but the breach most likely provided valuable intelligence for Pyongyang.

    Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal »

    SEE ALSO: North Korean hackers may have stolen secret US-South Korean war plans to kill Kim Jong Un

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: North Korea exports $2.83 billion worth of goods — here's where it all goes


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    Kim Jong-un North Korea nuclear bomb

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has detected a fourth small earthquake near North Korea's main nuclear test site after the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test explosion last month.

    South Korea's weather agency says the four quakes likely occurred because the underground nuclear explosion Sept. 3 weakened or affected the tectonic plate structures in the area.

    No such quakes were detected after North Korea's five previous, and much smaller, nuclear tests since 2006.

    The agency says Friday's magnitude 2.7 quake was 54 kilometers (0.62 miles) northwest of the town of Kilju in northeastern North Korea.

    SEE ALSO: A 'ridiculous mistake' gave North Korea access to the US and South Korea's secret war plans

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    NOW WATCH: Meet the three women who married Donald Trump


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    eurofighter spain crash

    MADRID (Reuters) - A Eurofighter combat jet plane crashed near a military base in southeastern Spain on Thursday, killing its pilot, an emergency services spokesman said.

    Local emergency services received a call at 1009 GMT informing them that the plane had crashed on farmland around the Los Llanos base near the town of Albacete, the spokesman said.

    The jet had been taking part in a military parade to commemorate Spain's national holiday and crashed on its return, a defence ministry spokesman said.

    The causes of the accident were being investigated, the ministry added in a note.

    eurofighter spain crash

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    FILE PHOTO - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS/File photo

    After US B-1B jets buzzed North Korea and practiced a bombing run, Pyongyang responded by saying Kim Jong Un may finally decide to launch missiles towards Guam.

    North Korea originally threatened to fire Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles into the waters just short of Guam, the US territory with massive air and naval bases, in August. 

    At the time, North Korea specifically mentioned the bombers "which get on the nerves of DPRK and threaten and blackmail it through their frequent visits to the sky above Korea."

    The carefully-worded threats did not promise a launch, only that it would prepare plans and present them to Kim, who has declined to go through with it so far.

    But after the most recent flight, which was relatively routine, North Korean media said the "US should be tamed with fire," and that tensions now bring its "hand closer to the 'trigger'" on carrying out the launch, according to CNN's Will Ripley.

    The US operates a powerful missile defense system in Guam, and the US Navy has ships that can defend against missiles, but it's unclear whether it would risk shooting down missiles bound for the ocean. 

    SEE ALSO: A 'ridiculous mistake' gave North Korea access to the US and South Korea's secret war plans

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch Lockheed Martin's laser beam system burn drones out of the sky


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    iran

    The White House released its new Iran strategy on Friday morning, ahead of an expected announcement by President Donald Trump that current policy isn't working.

    Trump is expected to say that the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iran Deal, is not in the US's national security interests.

    But the updated strategy, while acknowledging the legitimate threat Iran poses to US foreign policy goals and the region, has a fatal flaw.

    In short, Trump's new strategy will look to neutralize Iran's "destabilizing" influence, constrain its "aggression, particularly its support for terrorism and militants," as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), all while denying Iran "all paths to a nuclear weapon," most likely without the Iran deal, according to a White House statement.

    Trump's administration hopes to achieve these goals by denying funding to Iran, cracking down on the IRGC's business dealings, countering Iran's ballistic missile threat with forces of its own, and working with US allies in the region.

    But the strategy somehow ignores Trump's own foreign policy on North Korea.

    Time and time again, Trump has repeated that sanctions do not and have not worked against North Korea. Denying funding, working with regional allies, and deploying forces to counter North Korea's threat have not stopped the rogue nation from going nuclear.

    Why would they work on Iran, whose GDP is over 30 times greater?

    One reason sanctions don't work to prevent nuclear proliferation is the fallacy of a supply-side cure. 

    The US cracked the atom and built an atomic bomb for the first time in 1945. By 1961 the US had fielded an intercontinental ballistic missile. 

    little boy atomic bomb

    Most of the tools and techniques needed to create a nuclear force have existed for 40 to 50 years, according to Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

    He told Business Insider: "They're state of the 1970s." Iran could easily acquire nuclear materials and mount them to its already-imposing fleet of ballistic missiles.

    Iran missile baseTrump's fatal flaw in preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon comes from the supply side approach. 

    "You have to deal with the demand side," said Lewis. "The idea that we’re going to keep the Iranians so stupid that they can’t make an ICBM is hopeless... you’re not going to permanently keep Iran at 1952."

    As Suzanne Maloney, a former US State Department policy advisor, wrote on the Lawfare national security blog, Washington needs "a credible strategy for addressing the perennial, unresolved question of how to persuade Tehran to play a more constructive role at home and abroad," rather than a relitigated Iran deal.

    But by increasing ties with Iran's sworn rivals the Saudis, and other Gulf Arab states; by increasing US forces in the region, and by removing the economic benefits Iran enjoys from not pursuing a nuclear weapon and perhaps even designating the IRGC as a terrorist group, Iran will likely only see more reasons to go nuclear.

    SEE ALSO: Trump lists grievances, appears ready to leave the Iran deal

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    NOW WATCH: Watch an F-35 fighter jet use a ski jump as a runway


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    USS Michigan submarine us navy SEALs

    The US Navy's USS Michigan attack submarine arrived in Busan, South Korea's southern port city, on Friday, and it looks like it will be joined by a US aircraft carrier in a bold challenge to a defiant North Korea, Yonhap news reports.

    The Michigan, a nuclear-powered attack submarine, carries with it some 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles that experts told Business Insider could prove incredibly useful in a strike on North Korea's nuclear infrastructure.

    Additionally, the submarine is known to sometimes carry special forces. In April, South Korean media reported that Navy SEALs aboard the Michigan had trained with a local force to decapitate North Korea's Kim Jong Un regime.

    The USS Ronald Reagan, the US's forward-deployed aircraft carrier based in Japan, also should head to South Korea in the coming days, according to Yonhap.

    Additionally, the US Navy has reshuffled some Arleigh Berke-class destroyers to bolster missile defenses in the region.

    USS Ronald Reagan Navy

    South Korea news outlet Chosun reported recently that the US has been considering using this armada to test North Korea like never before, by sailing the aircraft carrier north of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border of North Korea.

    When the US recently flew bombers over the Northern Limit Line, North Korea responded by saying it would shoot down US bombers even outside its airspace.

    As a rule, the US Navy does not comment on future operations, but the Reagan has been spotted in Korea's vicinity recently.

    SEE ALSO: Time-lapse video shows damaged destroyer USS John S. McCain loaded aboard massive heavy-lift ship

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    NOW WATCH: Watch the US Navy shoot down a medium-range missile in its latest test after North Korea launched a missile over Japan


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    iraqi security forces kirkuck kurds oil gas

    KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi Kurdish officials said early Monday that federal forces and state-backed militias have launched a "major, multi-pronged" attack aimed at retaking the disputed northern city of Kirkuk, causing "lots of casualties" in fighting south of the city.

    The Kurdistan Region Security Council said in a statement that Kurdish forces known as peshmerga have destroyed at least five U.S.-supplied Humvees being used by the state-sanctioned militias following the "unprovoked attack" south of the city.

    Inside Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic city that is home to more than 1 million people, residents shuttered themselves in homes and reported hearing sporadic booms they said sounded like shelling and rocket fire.

    Brig. Gen. Bahzad Ahmed, a spokesman for Kurdish forces, said federal forces have seized an oil and gas company and other industrial areas south of Kirkuk in fighting with Kurdish forces that caused "lots of casualties," without providing a specific figure.

    He said Iraqi forces have "burnt lots of houses and killed many people" in Toz Khormato and Daquq, south of the disputed city. He said Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, have "destroyed one or two of their tanks." His claims could not be independently verified.

    Iraq's Interior Ministry said in a brief statement that federal forces have taken control of a power plant, a police station and industrial areas near Kirkuk. It provided no further details on the fighting or casualties in what it referred to as Operation Impose Security on Kirkuk.

    Tensions have soared since the Kurds held a non-binding referendum last month in which they voted for independence from Iraq. The central government, along with neighboring Turkey and Iran, rejected the vote.

    Iraqi syria kurdistan isis map october 2017

    The United States has supplied and trained Iraqi federal forces and the peshmerga, both of which are fighting the Islamic State group. The U.S. also opposed the referendum, and has urged both sides to remain focused on defeating the extremists.

    U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, tweeted that it was "closely monitoring sit. near Kirkuk; urge all sides to avoid escalatory actions. Finish the fight vs. #ISIS, biggest threat to all." ISIS is another acronym for the Islamic State group.

    The central government and the autonomous Kurdish region in the north have long been divided over oil revenues and the fate of disputed territories like Kirkuk that are controlled by Kurdish forces but are outside their self-ruled region.

    The Kurds assumed control of Kirkuk, in the heart of a major oil-producing region, in the summer of 2014, when IS militants swept across northern Iraq and the country's armed forces crumbled. Baghdad has demanded the Kurds withdraw.

    The Kurdish security council said the assault launched late Sunday was aimed at entering the city and retaking the K-1 military base and nearby oil fields.

    State-run Al-Iraqiya TV had earlier reported that federal forces rolled into parts of the countryside outside Kirkuk without facing resistance. However, some residents of the city and an Iraqi militia commander reported shelling.

    Al-Iraqiya carried a statement from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office saying he had ordered federal forces to "impose security in the city in cooperation with the inhabitants and the peshmerga," indicating he was willing to share administration.

    A commander of the local Kurdish police force said his forces remained in control of the province's disputed oil wells. "There's been no agreement to hand over the wells until now. As for the future, I don't know," said Bahja Ahmad Amin.

    A general view of the north gas company on the outskirts of Kirkuk February 2, 2015. Production at an oilfield near the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk remained suspended on Monday after incurring severe damage during a weekend attack by Islamic State insurgents, Iraq's oil minister said.  REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

    Iraq's state-sanctioned militias, the mostly Shiite Arab Popular Mobilization Forces, were ordered to stay out of the city, according to al-Abadi's office, and instead keep positions in the countryside. They are viewed with deep suspicion by Kurdish residents, who see them as beholden to Iran rather than Iraq's central government. The predominantly Shiite militias are sponsored and guided by Tehran.

    Ercuman Turkman, a PMF commander, said shortly before forces began moving in that he expected orders to move on Kirkuk's oil wells, its airport and the nearby K-1 military base, but not the city. Haytham Hashem, another PMF commander, reported shelling on his position in Toz Khormato, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the edge of Kirkuk city.

    Baghdad has been turning the screws on the Kurdish region since the September referendum, pushing Kurd leaders to disavow the vote and accept shared administration over Kirkuk.

    Iraq's government barred international flights to and from the region and asked neighboring Turkey and Iran to close their borders. Iran closed its three official crossings with the Kurdish region Sunday, Kurdish media reported. It also froze currency transfers to four banks operating in the Kurdish region.

    Al-Abadi has demanded shared administration over Kirkuk. His Cabinet said Sunday that fighters from Turkey's Kurdish insurgency, the PKK, were beginning to appear in Kirkuk, and declared that would be tantamount to an act of war.

    SEE ALSO: Iraqi and Kurdish forces are starting to fight over oilfields and military positions

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    NOW WATCH: The 5 most annoying changes in the new iPhone update — and how to fix them


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    pakistan army

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Bomb blasts killed a Pakistani army officer and three soldiers searching for the kidnappers of a freed U.S.-Canadian family in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan, Pakistani and U.S. officials said.

    Pakistan's army said the attacks in Kurram tribal district on Sunday also wounded three soldiers during the search for those who held American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, and their three children hostage.

    The family were freed on Wednesday when the Pakistani army shot out the tires of a vehicle carrying the family during a rescue based on intelligence shared by U.S. authorities.

    A local government official, Baseer Khan, said an improvised explosive device exploded when a military bomb disposal squad was scanning the route, and the other two bombs went off when an army team reached the site.

    The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.

    "These personnel were searching for the kidnappers of a U.S. citizen and her family," said David Hale, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, in a statement.

    "We remain extremely grateful for the Pakistani military's quick response and successful humanitarian operation allowing Caitlan Coleman and her family to return home safely."

    The family's rescue has been hailed by U.S. President Donald Trump as a "positive moment" for U.S.-Pakistan relations, which have frayed in recent years amid Washington's assertions that Islamabad has not been doing enough to tackle Taliban-linked Haqqani militants who are believed to be on Pakistani soil.

    Coleman and Boyle were held by Haqqani militants who kidnapped them while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012.

    The Pakistani army has indicated that the captors were tracked shortly after entering from Afghanistan, although it remains unclear whether the family were kept in Afghanistan for all five years, or in Pakistan for some of the time.

    A still image from a video posted by the Taliban on social media on December 19, 2016 shows American Caitlan Coleman (L) speaking next to her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their two sons.   Courtesy Taliban/Social media via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

    Haqqani militants, once termed by a U.S. general a veritable arm of Pakistan's top spy agency, the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), operate on both sides of the long porous border.

    Boyle, in a video statement released by the Pakistani military, called his captors criminals and pagans who had nothing to do with Islam.

    Boyle described the operation to free his family as "incredibly" professional.

    "I did see the truth, and the truth was that car was riddled with bullets," he said. "The ISI and the army got between the criminals and that car to make sure that the prisoners were safe, my family was safe."

    SEE ALSO: The family held hostage for 5 years by the Taliban was rescued from a car trunk in a bloody shootout

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    kenya nairobi election violence

    NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police killed at least 33 people in the capital during a crackdown following elections in August, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

    Excessive force by police against protesters and residents in strongholds of opposition leader Raila Odinga caused the deaths in Nairobi, the report said.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta defeated Odinga in the Aug. 8 election and days of protests followed. The Supreme Court last month voided the election citing procedural irregularities and ordered a re-run, which is to be held on Oct. 26.

    "Researchers found that although police behaved appropriately in some instances, in many others they shot or beat protesters to death."

    The report is likely to bolster the case of Kenyan activists and rights groups who accuse police of brutality and extrajudicial killings but say few officers are charged and convictions are extremely rare.

    Police spokesman Charles Owino did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Police have said only looters and thugs were killed or injured in the violence.

    The report said a 9-year-old was shot dead while standing on a balcony and a woman who was eight months pregnant fainted from inhaling teargas and was trampled to death.

    The parents of a six-month-old baby told Reuters during the violence their child was clubbed by police in her home and died from brain trauma at a hospital several days later.

    Odinga withdrew last week from the re-run saying the vote would not be fair, leaving Kenyatta as the only candidate. The president said the election would proceed.

    Political uncertainty has blunted growth in Kenya, a Western ally that has East Africa's richest economy.

    Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition addresses supporters during a rally in Mombasa, Kenya October 15, 2017. REUTERS/Joseph Okanga

    For the past two weeks, police used tear gas to disperse opposition demonstrations held twice weekly in the country's three biggest cities. The protesters had been calling on the election board to make reforms to ensure a fair poll.

    On Thursday the government banned demonstrations in the central business district of Nairobi, the coastal city of Mombasa and the western city of Kisumu.

    A group of U.N. human rights experts called for the government's ban on protests to be listed and denounced a "pattern of police brutality" in response to recent demonstrations.

    The report brings the nationwide number of killings by police after the Aug. 8 vote to more than 45. Human Rights Watch last month documented 12 killings by police in western Kenya, the main opposition stronghold.

    The country receives substantial financial support for its security services from the United States, Britain and other international donors.

    SEE ALSO: Iraqi and Kurdish forces are starting to fight over oilfields and military positions

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    uss michigan south korea navy seals submarine

    The US Navy maintains that the USS Michigan, a submarine known for carrying special-ops teams, stopped in the South Korean city of Busan for a "routine port visit," but pictures of the event suggest a more clandestine purpose that may involve US Navy SEALs.

    On top of the Michigan as it arrived in Busan appeared to be two silos for SEAL Delivery Vehicles, the tiny submarines used to transport US Navy SEALs and their equipment for their most covert missions deep in enemy territory.

    The Navy confirmed to Business Insider that these pods are used by Naval Special Warfare units, but as a rule it does not disclose deployments of Navy SEALs.

    In April, when the Michigan last visited Busan, South Korean media reported that it carried SEALs to train with South Korean forces for a "decapitation" mission, in which the US and South Korea would work together to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and take out North Korea's nuclear command structure.

    The US military, however, maintains it does not train for attempts at regime change, and it does not typically comment on SEAL deployments.

    Now, as the US and North Korea trade nuclear threats and the US and South Korea gear up for another round of military drills, the Michigan has returned, sending a powerful message. The Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine, used to carry nuclear missiles but now carries 150 Tomahawk precision-guided missiles.

    The US operates only four such submarines, known as SSGNs, and rarely discusses their whereabouts.

    us navy seal submarine delivery vehicle SDV

    In 2011 it was the USS Florida, a fellow SSGN, that kicked off US operations in Libya by launching more than 90 Tomahawks at targets there, beating down Libyan defenses before airpower and surface ships took control of the situation.

    With not one but two SEAL Delivery Vehicle silos attached, the Michigan could deliver a considerable number of highly mobile SEALs to South Korea. Silos add drag and decrease the stealthiness of the Michigan, suggesting they were included for a reason.

    Additionally, as the US continues efforts to put "maximum pressure" on North Korea, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency posted pictures of F-22 Raptor stealth jets training for an air show in South Korea.

    F-22

    Experts have told Business insider that the F-22 fits the profile of the type of weapon the US would use in the early salvos of fighting with North Korea.

    On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US would continue diplomatic efforts with North Korea"until the first bomb drops," as President Donald Trump repeatedly hints at using force to solve the crisis.

    Despite the outward appearance of war preparations, the Trump administration's aggressive approach to North Korea has yielded economic and diplomatic results. China has gone further than ever before in sanctioning North Korea, and a handful of other important nations have also cut or reduced ties.

    Trump is scheduled to visit South Korea in November.

    SEE ALSO: It looks like a US Navy armada will return to waters near North Korea

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    NOW WATCH: North Korea exports $2.83 billion worth of goods — here's where it all goes


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    Combat veteran Andrew Wittman was an infantry Marine for 6 years. Wittman is the author of "Ground Zero Leadership: CEO of You," and coaches Fortune 500 CEO's and top executives. Here, Wittman explains why setting goals can be a complete waste of time. Following is a transcript of the video. 

    Setting goals is the biggest waste of time on planet Earth. People are shocked when I say that. Setting goals is a complete waste of time if you don't have a target destination. So I say it like this: Have you ever gone on a vacation and you didn't know where you were going? And if that ever happened, how did you pack? 

    So I don't know where I'm going. Here's my goals. I'm going to set goals of getting a surfboard, getting skis, getting hunting rifles, getting fishing rods. OK, all those took time to research, I spent resources, I got them, "Yay, I accomplished my goals.""Where you going?""We're going rock climbing." Right? So, these goals did not help me. 

    In fact, I wasted valuable hours of my life and valuable resources I could have spent getting me to my destination on stuff that was a complete waste. So now think of it like this: If I said, "We're going to Rome in 2 weeks." All the goals self-populate. 

    What do we need to do? We've got to get our passport and visa. We've got to get plane tickets. We've got to get a hotel. We've got to figure out where we're going to eat — and what we're going to go see. So the goals self-populate. So stop wasting time trying to come up with goals. Just come up with a destination and a target of where you want to be and all your goals will self-populate. 

    Produced by Eames Yates

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published on June 9, 2017.

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    ISIS

    DUBAI (Reuters) - The United States said it launched its first attack on Islamic State's deadly Yemen branch on Monday with a series of nighttime airstrikes that residents said targeted two villages and killed several people.

    Unmanned U.S. drones launched around 12 missiles at militant positions in Yakla and al-Abl in southern al-Bayda province, according to local people living nearby, who declined to be named due to safety concerns.

    They said the number of casualties caused by the attack was not immediately clear because locals were too afraid to approach the site as U.S. aircraft hovered over the area for hours.

    The Pentagon said in a statement that U.S. forces had killed dozens of Islamic State members in a strike on two camps where fighters trained in using machine guns and grenade launchers.

    Residents disputed that account, saying the fighters targeted actually hailed from a powerful al Qaeda affiliate who deployed in the area to fight Iran-aligned Houthi militiamen as part of Yemen's civil war, which began in 2015.

    The complex conflict pits a kaleidoscope of tribes, military units and political factions against each other in chaotic rivalries that have allowed hardline Sunni Muslim militant groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State to thrive.

    The United States provides arms and logistical support to a Saudi-led military coalition that has launched almost daily air strikes against the Houthis to try to restore Yemen's internationally recognized government.

    Al Qaeda in Yemen, one of the fiercest branches of the global network, has plotted to down U.S. airliners and claimed responsibility for the 2015 attacks on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

    F-16

    It has been targeted by U.S. air strikes for a decade.

    Islamic State, which only launched its first bombing in Yemen as it careered toward civil war in March 2015, has claimed responsibility for a series of spectacular attacks on military and civilian targets which have killed hundreds of people

    Yakla, one of the sites targeted in the strike, was the site of a U.S. raid in January targeting suspected al Qaeda militants which local medics said killed 30 people including 10 women and children, and also left a Navy SEAL dead.

    SEE ALSO: Video appears to show a US MQ-9 Reaper drone shot down over Yemen

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    File Photo - A boy rides a bicycle with the flag of Kurdistan in Tuz Khurmato, Iraq September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Iraq's Kurdish fighters have lost more territory in Iraq, a day after Iraqi forces pushed them out of the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

    In the town of Sinjar, commander of the local Yazidi militia, Masloum Shingali, says the Kurdish forces left before dawn on Tuesday, allowing Shiite-led militiamen who are fighting with Iraqi forces to move into the town.

    Shingali says there was no fighting and that the Kurdish forces "left immediately, they didn't want to fight."

    Town Mayor Mahma Khalil says the Popular Mobilization Forces, a predominantly Shiite militia coalition, is securing Sinjar.

    On Monday, Iraqi troops pushed their Kurdish allies in the battle against the Islamic State group out of Kirkuk, seizing oil fields and other facilities amid soaring tensions over last month's Kurdish vote for independence.

    SEE ALSO: Islamic State in Raqqa mounts last stand around city stadium

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    kurdish ypg flag

    RAQQA, Syria — US-backed militias have taken the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

    US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces raised a militia flag inside Raqqa stadium on Tuesday, one of the last remaining areas that were held by the Islamic State in its former capital, a Reuters witness said.

    The flag of the Kurdish YPG, the strongest of the militias in the SDF, was planted in the middle of the stadium, where fighting had ended but which had not been fully cleared of landmines, militia fighters told the witness.

    A local field commander said no Islamic State fighters remained even in their two remaining city strongholds.

    Fighting on Monday night and Tuesday has focused on Raqqa's National Hospital and the nearby city stadium, two central positions in which the group, also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh, was well entrenched.

    The fall of the city of Raqqa, where the Islamic State staged euphoric parades after its string of lightning victories in 2014, is a potent symbol of the jihadist movement's collapsing fortunes. From the city, the group planned attacks abroad.

    syria iraq isis map raqqa october 2017

    The Islamic State has lost swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq this year, including its most prized possession, Mosul, and in Syria it has been forced back into a strip of the Euphrates valley and surrounding desert.

    The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, took the National Hospital in fierce fighting overnight and early on Tuesday, the spokesman Mostafa Bali said in a statement.

    An SDF field commander who gave his name as Ager Ozalp said three militiamen had been killed on Monday by mines that have become an Islamic State trademark in its urban battles.

    Another field commander, who gave his name as Abjal al-Syriani, said SDF fighters had entered the stadium and found burned weapons and documents.

    Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

    The stadium in Raqqa had become the last major position held by the Islamic State after four months of battle in Raqqa and the departure of some of its fighters on Sunday, leaving only foreign jihadists to mount a last stand.

    The SDF has been supported by a US-led international coalition with airstrikes and special forces on the ground since it started the battle for Raqqa city in early June.

    The final SDF assault began Sunday after a group of Syrian jihadists quit the city under a deal with tribal elders, leaving only a hardcore of up to 300 fighters to defend the last positions, including the hospital and stadium.

    ISIS RaqqaRaqqa was the first big city the Islamic State captured in early 2014, before its rapid series of victories in Iraq and Syria brought millions of people under the rule of its self-declared caliphate, which passed laws and issued passports and money.

    It used the city as a planning and operations center for its warfare in the Middle East and its string of attacks overseas, and for a time it imprisoned Western hostages there before killing them in slickly produced films distributed online.

    The SDF advance since Sunday also brought it control over a central city roundabout where the Islamic State once displayed the severed heads of its enemies and which became one of its last lines of defense as the battle progressed.

    SEE ALSO: ISIS fighters, once bent on martyrdom, surrender en masse from last Iraqi stronghold

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    Kim Jong Un

    North Korea's deputy UN ambassador said on Monday that tensions on the peninsula had escalated to the point that "a nuclear war may break out any moment."

    This is exactly the kind of bluster Pyongyang has engaged in for decades.

    On the surface, the latest US military movements may look like preparations for a preemptive strike on North Korea's nuclear infrastructure. But it's clear the two forces are still locked in a stalemate.

    The USS Michigan, a stealthy submarine laden with 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles, just arrived in the South Korean port of Busan. It most likely carried Navy SEALs and covert submarines designed for operations deep behind enemy lines.

    US bombers frequently train to strike North Korean targets. Stealth jets like F-35s and F-22s wait in the wings in case of conflict. A US aircraft carrier decked out with dozens of fighter and electronic attack aircraft sits just off North Korea's shores.

    But experts say none of that really matters.

    Tom Plant, the director of the proliferation and nuclear policy program at the Royal United Services Institute, said that "the US always, at all times, has an overwhelming superiority over North Korea," so a few new jets aren't likely to change things.

    "In terms of its precision-strike technology, in terms of its ability to put metal on targets," the US prevents a contest between its forces, combined with South Korea's, and North Korea, Plant told Business Insider.

    But a stalemate remains. The Pentagon has estimated that North Korea has enough artillery to kill as many as 20,000 people in South Korea each day, the Los Angeles Times reported. This all but precludes a US preemptive strike.

    uss michigan south korea navy seals submarine

    Additionally, though a major naval drill recently began, Plant said he didn't see any evidence of a swell of ground troops that would indicate war is likely.

    While the US would strike North Korea to prevent widespread death and destruction in the US or any of its allies' homelands, it hasn't come to that point.

    North Korea on Monday appeared to acknowledge it didn't have a credible way of striking the US, with an official telling CNN that the country needed to conduct more tests. A strike on South Korea or Japan would also result in a smoldering Pyongyang.

    "The last person who wants conflict on the [Korean Peninsula] is Kim Jong Un," Yong Suk Lee, the deputy assistant director of the CIA's newly created Korea Mission Center, previously said, referring to the North Korean leader. Lee added that Kim had "no interest in going toe-to-toe" with the US.

    south korean tanks military exercise

    The rational but paranoid North Korea has made a habit of making grandiose threats as it stares down superior conventional and nuclear military power from the US and South Korea.

    North Korea has found that the best way to protest US military strength near its borders is to float the idea that nuclear war may be just a moment away, but that's the last thing it wants.

    SEE ALSO: North Korean official says diplomacy is off the table until it builds a missile that can hit the east coast of the US

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    Xi jinping

    BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) - China has the resolve, confidence and ability to thwart any attempt by self-ruled Taiwan to declare independence, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, prompting Taipei to retort that only its people could decide their future.

    Taiwan is one of China's most important and sensitive issues. China considers proudly democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province and has never renounced the possibility of using force to bring the island under its control.

    Xi has set great store on trying to resolve differences, holding a landmark meeting with then-President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore in 2015.

    But relations have nosedived since Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections last year, with Beijing fearing she wants to push for Taiwan's formal independence, a red line for China.

    "We will never allow anyone, any organization, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China," Xi told more than 2,000 delegates at the opening of a week-long Communist Party Congress, drawing the longest applause during his 3-1/2 hour speech.

    "We have the resolve, the confidence and the ability to defeat separatist attempts for Taiwan independence in any form," Xi told the audience, including some 300 from the People's Liberation Army.

    Beijing has suspended a regular dialogue mechanism with Taipei established under Taiwan's previous, China-friendly government, and there has been a dramatic fall in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan under Tsai's administration.

    Tsai says she wants peace with China but will protect Taiwan's freedom and democracy

    In Taipei, the cabinet's Mainland Affairs Council said it was "absolutely" the right of Taiwan's 23 million people to decide their future.

    Soldiers drive their military vehicles past Taiwan flags during an army exercise in Hsinchu, central Taiwan January 27, 2010.  REUTERS/Nicky Loh

    "The Republic of China is a sovereign country," the council said, using Taiwan's formal name.

    The perpetuation of Taiwan's democratic system was a core value of Taiwan's, the council said in reaction to Xi's speech. Tsai and her government had been restrained and not provocative towards China, but had staunchly defended Taiwan's security and dignity.

    Xi said that China respected Taiwan's "current social system and way of life".

    "Recognize the historical fact ... that the two sides both belong to one China, and then our two sides can conduct dialogue to address through discussion the concerns of the people of both sides, and no political party or group in Taiwan will have any difficulty conducting exchanges with the mainland," he added.

    SEE ALSO: China's national congress is getting underway — here's what you need to know

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    FILE PHOTO: A NATO flag flies at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels March 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Yves Herman/File photo

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnian Serb lawmakers have passed a non-binding resolution opposing the country's potential membership in NATO as part of years-long efforts to keep Bosnia away from the Western military alliance.

    The 83-member parliament in the Bosnia Serb-run part of the country approved the symbolic measure early Wednesday. Opposition lawmakers didn't attend the session having been thrown out because of noisy protests over unrelated issues.

    Traditionally, pro-Russia Serbs in Bosnia, which NATO bombed in 1990s to end the country's 1992-95 war, are strongly opposed to NATO membership. But Bosniaks and Croats who account for over 65 percent of Bosnia's population are generally in favor.

    The peace agreement that ended the war divided Bosnia in two highly autonomous parts, a Serb-run one and another shared by Bosniaks and Croats.

    SEE ALSO: Son of slain Panama Papers journalist rages against politicians: 'This is what war looks like'

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