Okinawans demand end to US military flights over schools

Recent ‘mishaps’ have amplified calls to ban military aircraft from flying over educational institutions.

    Ginowan City, Okinawa – On the morning of December 7, a group of one-year-old students were getting ready to play outside at their nursery school on the Japanese island of Okinawa when the sound of a low-flying helicopter and a loud bang rang out.

    “Some children let out a cry,” recalls Eriko Miyagi, a childcare worker and mother of one of the students at the Midorigaoka nursery school.

    Miyagi’s colleagues ran to the roof and found a cylindrical object with a red label bearing the words: “Remove before flight” and “US”.

    Less than a week later, on December 13, a metal window frame appeared to fall from the sky onto the grounds of a nearby elementary school.

    The 7.7kg window shattered during a gym class attended by about 50 students at the Futenma No2 Elementary School. A 10-year-old boy standing less than 15 metres away suffered a minor injury.

    Both incidents allegedly involved a CH-53E helicopter belonging to the US Marine Corps Air Station in Futenma, which is separated from the elementary school by only a fence. 

    While no children were seriously hurt, the incidents have amplified calls by the local community to halt flights over schools.

    ‘How is this allowed to happen?’

    Tomoko Miyagi has children attending both the nursery school and elementary school involved in December’s incidents.

    “I just couldn’t understand,” Miyagi tells Al Jazeera. “In what world is this allowed to happen?”

    She is one of a group of parents who launched a campaign calling for a ban on military planes flying over schools.

    In late December, some 600 parents and their supporters rallied in front of the city hall in Ginowan.

    Earlier this month, the headmaster and members of the parent’s association of Midorigaoka nursery school visited Japanese government officials in Tokyo to deliver a petition with more than 10,000 signatures. In addition to halting flights over local schools, the petition calls for a full investigation into the incident at the nursery school.

    Their campaign comes as the US military – in tandem with the Japanese government – is building a US Marine Corps base in Henoko despite ongoing protests, as part of a plan to “relocate” the airbase station in Futenma to the less-populated village on Okinawa.

    “We’re not asking for our problems to be relocated somewhere else,” says Yukiko Chinen, whose five-year-old daughter attends the nursery. “We’re simply asking them to stop,” she tells Al Jazeera.

    According to Japan’s Ministry of Defense, there were at least 25 incidents involving US military aircraft in Japan last year.

    The majority took place in Okinawa, home to more than 70 percent of US military bases in Japan despite being only 0.6 percent of the country’s territory.

    Last year, the total number of flight “mishaps” by the US Marine Corps was the highest since 2004, according to data from the US Naval Safety Center.

    So far this year, there have been at least three forced landings by US military aircraft on Okinawa.

    The US military admitted that the cylindrical object that fell on the roof of the nursery school in December did belong to its CH-53 helicopter and that one of them had taken off towards to nursery school that day, but added that all cylinders on board the aircraft were accounted for.

    In a statement to Al Jazeera, Gregory Cronen of the First Marine Aircraft Wing, said that “all the inventory of the type of object identified on the roof of the Midorigaoka Nursery School that were used on the 1st MAW aircraft that was operating in that area” on that day was accounted for, and that the department does not have any “further information on this object or … its origin”. 

    After the window incident at the Futenma elementary school, the US military vowed to try to fly around the school in the future, but within a week, helicopters could be heard overhead.

    Cronen told Al Jazeera that since the incident, the First Marine Aircraft Wing had “conducted a detailed review of [its] flight patterns around Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in order to determine the safest departure and arrival patterns considering the many schools and sensitive areas located in close proximity to the base”. 

    But on Friday, the US military admitted that a helicopter flew over the Futenma No2 Elementary school that same day, according to local media. It said it had launched an investigation into the incident. 

    ‘You’d think the war never ended’

    The recent incidents are part of a layered history of occupation on the islands. 

    Annexed by Japan in 1879, Okinawa became the site of one of the bloodiest battles between Japan and the US during WWII, in which about 120,000 inhabitants lost their lives. 

    As WWII neared its end in 1945, the US military placed hundreds of thousands of Okinawans into internment camps and seized land from local villagers to build military bases throughout the island. Under the US post-war occupation, Okinawa was turned into a military hub.

    Since Japan’s defeat, US bases continue to occupy almost 20 percent of Okinawa’s main island.

    The Futenma air station, located in the densely populated city of Ginowan, occupies an area that was once home to roughly 10,000 residents. Today, a number of schools, hospitals and houses surround the base.

    “Our grandparents were given no choice but to build homes and schools around the base,” says Eriko Miyagi, who also grew up near the air station.

    “With all these helicopters, you’d think the war never ended,” Chinen tells Al Jazeera.

    For those who grew up near the base and now have children at the school, they say they feel “nothing has changed.”

    Yoshino Oshiro, whose two children attend the nursery school, says a CH-53D helicopter crashed into one of her school’s buildings when she was a university student.

    “When I heard the news [in December], it immediately brought me back to that day,” says Oshiro.

    Chiemi Yonashiro, who attended the Futenma No2 Elementary school as a child and whose three-year-old daughter currently attends the nursery school, says it was normal to hear low-flying military planes.

    “It was normal for the teacher to suspend class because of the noise from military planes,” Yonashiro says.

    ‘Children don’t forget’ 

    As parents call for a halt to flights over their children’s schools, a lawsuit has also been filed by more than 22,000 residents in Kadena, Okinawa – home to the largest US military combat air wing in the Pacific – demanding a ban on nighttime and early morning flights. Since the first legal suit filed in 1982, residents have continued to speak out about the impact noise pollution from US military aircraft have had on their lives.

    In February 2017, the Naha District Court granted compensation to residents claiming insomnia and hearing disorders from the noise pollution but ruled against banning flights at the Kadena airbase, saying that Japan “cannot restrict” flights at a US facility. The plaintiffs plan to appeal the court’s ruling.

    Shinchi Taira, one of the plaintiffs who organises weekly protests outside Kadena airbase, says that many survivors of WWII who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are often triggered by the sounds of military aircraft hovering overhead.

    It was normal for the teacher to suspend class because of the noise from military planes.

    Chiemi Yonashiro, parent

    The recent string of accidents, he worries, could leave a similar psychological imprint.

    “Children don’t forget,” says Taira, who remembers watching B-52 bombers take off for Vietnam from his family’s garden as an elementary school student.

    In the summer of 1959, when Taira was just eight years old, an F-100 fighter jet crashed into an elementary school in central Okinawa, killing 17 people, including 11 students.

    “We carry these memories throughout our lives,” he says.

    Source: Read Full Article

    US Marines chug cobra blood during ‘jungle training’

    US Marines have been pictured drinking cobra blood as they took part in military exercises in Thailand.

    The soldiers were given the cobra blood as part of their jungle training in the largest American-led military exercises in Asia, called Cobra Gold.

    The troops were taught how to survive in extreme jungle conditions.

    The annual event got underway on Tuesday with seven countries actively taking part including military personnel from Singapore, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as the US.

    About 4,500 US personnel will take part in both land and sea exercises.

    Royal Thai Marine Instructors showed the troops how drinking the blood from a cobra can help them stay alive if there is no drinkable water and can also provide essential nutrition.

    But it’s not for the squeamish.

    The pictures show the marines with their heads tilted back and sticking out their tongues as the instructor drips the blood down their throats.

    TOPSHOT-THAILAND-US-MILITARY-COBRA-GOLDTOPSHOT-THAILAND-US-MILITARY-COBRA-GOLDTHAILAND-US-MILITARY-COBRA-GOLDTHAILAND-US-MILITARY-COBRA-GOLDTHAILAND-US-MILITARY-COBRA-GOLDTHAILAND-US-MILITARY-COBRA-GOLDTHAILAND-US-MILITARY-COBRA-GOLD

    View Slideshow

    Source: Read Full Article

    Germany has assured NATO it will stick to defense spending aim: source

    BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government has assured NATO that it will stick to its aim of boosting defense spending to 1.5 percent of its gross domestic product by 2024, despite having less wiggle room in its budget, a German security source told Reuters on Wednesday.

    Germany’s envoy to NATO delivered a report to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday stating this, the source said.

    The spending plans had been called into question on Monday after a Finance Ministry document obtained by Reuters showed the government’s tax revenues were likely to rise less than expected in coming years due to a slowing economy.

    Source: Read Full Article

    Melania dresses in military-style black for State of the Union


    Melania dresses in $2,390 Burberry military-style black for the State of the Union in pointed contrast to Democratic women in white

    • First lady Melania Trump wore a black military-style suit to the State of the Union
    • Her outfit was in sharp contrast to the white worn by Democratic women
    • It was Melania Trump’s first official public appearance since she joined the president to visit U.S. troops in Iraq on Christmas Day 
    • Seated next to her were Grace Eline, a 10-year-old cancer survivor, and Joshua Trump, a sixth grader bullied for his last name
    • Anti-bullying is part of the first lady’s Be Best campaign
    • It was a late night for Joshua, who fell asleep during the speech  
    • Other guests included a daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of couple allegedly killed by illegal immigrant 
    • Judah Samet, 80, who narrowly escaped the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, also attended 
    • White House also invited Alice Johnson, the grandmother, 63, who was serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted of drug dealing in 1996
    • At the urging of Kim Kardashian, President Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence and she was freed
    • e-mail

    477

    View
    comments

    First lady Melania Trump entered the House chamber Tuesday night to a standing ovation from lawmakers wearing a black military-style suit with gold buttons and black leather gloves. 

    She removed one glove to shake hands with guests in her box overlooking the House chamber.

    Her $2,390 black Burberry outfit was in sharp contrast to the white that women Democratic lawmakers wore to celebrate the suffragettes.  


    Melania Trump entered the State of the Union address to a standing ovation


    Her $2,390 black Burberry outfit was in sharp contrast to the white that women Democratic lawmakers wore to celebrate the suffragettes 


    Melania Trump greets lawmakers surrounded by Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Lara Trump and Tiffany Trump


    Melania applauds special guest Grace Eline, who fought a brain tumor, and was sitting next to her as she is acknowledged during the State of the Union address 

    Be a style trooper in a military-inspired coat like Melania


    Burberry Melton Wool Tailored Coat

    Buy it here!

    Buy now

    When Melania Trump arrived at the State of the Union wearing a military-inspired black coat from British fashion house Burberry, the style was both feminine and strong. Another careful choice from the First Lady.

    The single breasted coat features a fitted bust down to the waist and is decorated with statement shank buttons. It's expertly tailored, but all that regimented detailing comes at a price. The coat costs $2390, if you want to splurge and add the chic ubiquitous staple to your closet then click right now..

    For more credit card-friendly finds check out our other army-inspired toppers below from the likes of Ralph Lauren and BGSD.

    • $324

      LAUREN Ralph Lauren coat at Zappos

      Buy now

    • $129.99

      BGSD coat at Walmart

      Buy now

    • $4490

      Saint Laurent coat at NET-A-PORTER

      Buy now

    • $250

      LAUREN RALPH LAUREN coat at Nordstrom

      Buy now

    The first lady watched President Donald Trump give his annual State of the Union address from the first lady’s private box overlooking the House floor. 

    It was her first official public appearance since she joined her husband on his visit to U.S. troops in Iraq on Christmas Day. She was seen this past weekend when she and the first family traveled to Mar-a-Lago.

    She joined lawmakers in applauding her husband as he arrived on the House floor and she removed both gloves for his remarks.  

    Joining her as her guests were  the children of a couple allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant, a child bullied because he has the last name ‘Trump’, and a recovering opioid addict.

    Combating bullying is part of her ‘Be Best’ initiative.

    Melania Trump stopped to greet Joshua Trump, who is of no relation to the first family. He sat two spaces down from her during the president’s address.  

    But it was a late night for the sixth grader, who dozed off during the speech, only to be jerked away when the president was applauded for different lines.

    The evening’s event began around 9 p.m. and ended around 10:30 p.m.  


    Joshua Trump dozed off during the State of the Union speech


    It was a late night for the sixth grader with the speech not ending until 10:30 p.m.


    Grace Eline and Joshua Trump greet the first lady


    It was Melania Trump’s first official public appearance since she joined the president to visit troops in Iraq on Christmas Day


    Democratic lawmakers wore white in celebration of the suffragettes

    Melania Trump sat next to 10-year-old Grace Eline, a cancer survivor, who was bright-eyed through the long night. 

    She arrived alone for the second year in a row, a break in traditional protocol that was news when revealed last year. This year, the White House offered a preemptive strike and noted the first lady’s separate departure on the president’s public schedule for the day. 

    Last year, the first lady was facing the public after porn star Stormy Daniels claimed an affair with her husband, which the president has denied.

    Melania Trump wore white in 2018 a marked contrast to the tough image she presented this year in her black ensemble. 

    The White House on Monday posted a list of those invited by the President to sit in the gallery during the speech at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

    They include the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Gerald and Sharon David, the Reno, Nevada couple whom authorities allege were killed by an undocumented immigrant who broke into their home last month. 


    The first lady joined the applause as President Trump came into the room


    The White House announced that it has invited the family of Gerald and Sharon David, the Reno couple allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant last month. The couple’s daughter, Debra Bissell (center); their granddaughter, Heather Armstrong (left); and great-granddaughter, Madison Armstrong, will be guests of the President and First Lady Melania Trump


    Ashley Evans, a recovering opioid addict who relapsed after she gave birth to a daughter in 2017, will also be in attendance

    Illegal immigrant, 20, accused of murdering four in Nevada home invasion killing spree – including elderly couple who were rodeo enthusiasts

    U.S. immigration authorities say a man suspected of killing four people in Nevada last month is from El Salvador and entered the United States illegally.

    Murder suspect Wilbur Martinez-Guzman, 19, had no criminal record or history of previous immigration violations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

    The agency did not have additional details on his alleged illegal entry to the U.S., including when and where it occurred. 

    The case shot to national prominence last month after President Donald Trump tweeted about the killings to support his case for the proposed border wall with Mexico.

    Martinez-Guzman has been linked to the murders of four people in the Carson City area. 


    On January 16, the bodies of 81-year-old Gerald David, and his 80-year-old wife, Sharon (together above in a family photo), were found in their home on the southern edge of Reno


    Wilbur Martinez-Guzman, 19, was arrested last month in Carson City, Nevada

    Investigators have not revealed a motive in the case.

    On the night of January 10, Connie Koontz, 56, was murdered in her home in Gardnerville Ranchos, about 15 miles south of Carson City. Her aging mother, who lived in the home, found her body the next morning.

    Three days later, 74-year-old Sophia Renken was found dead in her home about a mile from where Koontz lived.

    Police immediately suspected the two murders were committed by the same suspect due to similarities in the cases.

    Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley said that it was possible that the suspect targeted the women because of their age, gender and the fact that they appeared to live alone.

    Then on January 16, the bodies of 81-year-old Gerald David, and his 80-year-old wife, Sharon, were found in their home on the southern edge of Reno, about 20 miles north of Carson City.

    The couple were remembered as longstanding members of Reno’s equestrian and rodeo scene.

    Former Reno Rodeo Association president Tom Cates says he met Gerald and Sharon three decades ago and spent ‘many miles and many hours together’ on horseback with them.

    Cates says Gerald David was previously the association’s president and promoted a breast cancer awareness campaign by getting cowboys to show they were ‘tough enough to wear pink shirts.’

    Cates also was a member of the local Elks Lodge when David was the group’s leader.

    He says Sharon David was ‘exuberant, bubbly, loved animals to the hills.’

    Cates says the two were also members of a horseback social organization called the Nevada White Hats. 

    Martinez-Guzman has been jailed in Carson City since last month on possession of stolen property, burglary and immigration charges.

    News reports listed his age as both 19 and 20, but court records show that he will turn 20 on February 2. 

    Authorities have said they expect to file murder charges against him shortly. 

    Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said at a news conference last month that federal immigration authorities told his office Martinez-Guzman had lived in Carson City for about a year and was in the country illegally. 

    Wilbur Ernesto Martinez-Guzman, 20, has been arrested in connection with the Davids’ killing. He is also alleged to have killed two other people.

    The couple’s daughter, Debra Bissell; their granddaughter, Heather Armstrong; and great-granddaughter, Madison Armstrong, will be guests of the President and First Lady Melania Trump.

    • Federal prosecutors in New York issue a subpoena for… Trump will ‘call for an end to the politics of resistance’…
    • Alyssa Milano, Elizabeth Warren and Jim Carrey are among 50…

    Share this article

    Matthew Charles, who was released from prison after he was sentenced to 35 years for selling crack cocaine and other drug-related offenses, will also be a guest of the White House.

    Charles ‘found God’ while incarcerated and also became a law clerk, according to the White House.


    The White House has also invited Joshua Trump, who is of no relation to the President. Joshua Trump is a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Delaware. According to the White House, Joshua has been ‘bullied in school due to his last name.’

    Delaware boy, 11, forced to drop out of school by bullies and change name because he’s called Joshua TRUMP 


    Joshua Trump, 11, has no connection to the president other than sharing his name but has been relentlessly bullied at school for it for more than two years

    In December, the parents of an 11-year-old boy whose last name is Trump first told how they had to pull him out of school and change his surname because he has been relentlessly bullied for it since the 2016 election. 

    Joshua Trump from Delaware has always used his mother Megan’s maiden name as his own. 

    The family has no ties to the president but when he launched his presidential campaign, bullies seized on Joshua at elementary school. 

    The bullying became so bad that his father, Robert Berto, pulled him out of school and home schooled him for a year. 

    When Joshua became old enough to go to middle school, the family reentered him into the mainstream system but they say the bullying started again.  

    They then took the unusual step of having his name changed from Trump to Berto in the school’s database. 

    It remains unclear if the family will change his name legally or if his younger sister will go by Trump or Berto.

    Megan and Robert are married and she uses her husband’s surname.

    ‘They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid,’ his mother, Megan, told ABC News.

    ‘He said he hates himself, and he hates his last name, and he feels sad all the time, and he doesn’t want to live feeling like that anymore, and as a parent that’s scary.’

    The principal of Talley Middle School, Mark Mayers, said the school had changed Joshua’s name in its systems and would help him address any other issues in the future.

    Five children who were responsible for some of the bullying have been disciplined for it. 

    Grace Eline, a young girl who was successfully treated for brain cancer, will also be in the gallery for the speech.

    As will Ashley Evans, a recovering opioid addict who relapsed after she gave birth to a daughter.

    Evans is set to mark 13 months of sobriety. Next week, she will be reunited with her daughter full-time, according to the White House.

    Elvin Hernandez, a special agent who works for the Department of Homeland Security, will be at the speech as well.

    The President will likely highlight Hernandez’s experience in helping combat human trafficking by organized crime groups.

    Two of the guests are connected to the horrific October 2018 massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

    Timothy Matson of the Pittsburgh Police Department was part of the SWAT team that responded to the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 people were killed.

    Matson suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the leg.


    Matthew Charles, who was released from prison after he was sentenced to 35 years for selling crack cocaine and other drug-related offenses, will also be a guest of the White House


    Two of the guests are connected to the horrific October 2018 massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Timothy Matson of the Pittsburgh Police Department was part of the SWAT team that responded to the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 people were killed


    Judah Samet, a member of the Tree of Life congregation, will also be on hand at the State of the Union. Samet, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel after the Second World War and fought in that country’s War of Independence, avoided death after arriving four minutes late to the synagogue

    Judah Samet, a member of the Tree of Life congregation, will also be attending the State of the Union.

    Samet, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel after the Second World War and fought in that country’s War of Independence, avoided death after arriving four minutes late to the synagogue.

    He was stopped by police for parking in a handicapped spot. By the time he had arrived to the synagogue, the shooter, Robert Bowers, 46, had already opened fire.

    Holocaust survivor, 80, cheated death by FOUR minutes when he arrived late to Tree of Life synagogue – 74 years after his train to Auschwitz was diverted to Bergen Belsen where he was liberated by the allies aged 7 

    Judah Samet, 80, was heading to the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh on the morning of October 27 when he was stopped parking into a handicapped spot by police.

    He had arrived to pray at the same place he had for almost 50 years just after Robert Bowers, 46, opened fire on his friends inside. 

    When he was just seven years old Samet and his family were rounded up in Hungary by the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, in 1944 and put on a train to Auschwitz.

    But he was re-routed to Bergen-Belsen when Czechs blew up their train tracks. He spent 10 months in the camp before his family was released, just before the Allies liberated the camp.


    Judah Semet cheated death by four minutes as a gunman opened fire on worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 27

    More than 70 years later, he arrived at what he thought was a safe haven to see cops under attack from a man who had spewed anti-Semitic hate online just a few hours before. 

    ‘There was this guy. Very calm and respectful. [He] told me, you better back up, there is an active shooting going on in your synagogue,’ Samet told Jewish news outlet Forward.

    Samet said he knew the people who were killed during the attack, including 97-year old Rose Mallinger who typically sat behind him.

    Joyce Fienberg, 75, Richard Gottfried, 65, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, Bernice Simon, 84, Sylvan Simon, 86, Daniel Stein, 71, Melvin Wax, 88, Rose Mallinger, 97, and 69-year-old Irving Younger were identified as the 11 victims by Chief Medical Examiner Dr Karl Williams.

    Samet explained: ‘If I was inside the synagogue, I would be in the line of fire,’ he said.

    During the shooting, Samet said he was outside and roughly four feet away from a police officer who was under fire from the attacker’s automatic weapon.

    Samet said a police officer near him opened fire on the attacker, who he could see from outside.

    He added: ‘He was popping his head out from behind a wall and shooting,’ Samet said.

    ‘He was shooting towards the cop, who was about four feet away from me,’ Samet said. He saw the men exchange fire.

    ‘I saw smoking coming out of his muzzle. I was in the line of fire’.

    Some of Samet’s relatives were tortured and murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust. 

    He escaped when Slovakians blew up a railroad line transporting him and his family to Auschwitz.

    Samet’s mother was an interpreter who ‘saved hundreds of Jews’. 

    He added: ‘My mother taught us never listen what they have to say,’ he told Forward. Look at their hands. Because words cannot kill you’. 


    Judah Samet pictured shortly after World War Two ended and he moved to Israel with his mother, before later travelling to New York City and settling in Pittsburgh where he now lives


    He is seen holding a picture of his family around the time they were sent to the camps 


    A memorial of flowers and stars outside the synagogue where 11 people were killed 

    Samet, who lives in the North Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, has spoken to thousands of people about his experiences during the Holocaust.

    Samet was born in 1938 in Debrecen, the second-largest city in Hungary. The family of six lived in the Jewish section of town, across the street from the synagogue.

    In 1944, German Gestapo agents started rounding up Hungarian Jews for deportation to camps across central Europe. 

    The Samets ended up on a train bound for Auschwitz but were rerouted to Bergen-Belsen, in northern Germany, after Czech partisans blew up the railroad, Samet said.

    Samet, then only 7, spent 10 and a half months at Bergen-Belsen, which started out as a prisoner-of-war camp and became a concentration camp for civilians. 

    On a daily basis, he was given flavored water that was intended to pass as soup, and ‘moldy, rock-hard bread’.

     ‘Many people just laid down and died, he said. They knew they were eventually going to die, so why suffer?’, Samet told the Rochester Times earlier this year. 

    An estimated 50,000 people, including Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, perished there, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Just before the arrival of the Allies, German officers announced that they needed 2,500 prisoners to leave Bergen-Belsen by train.

    At the insistence of his mother, Rachel, Samet and his family boarded a train with an unknown destination.

    ‘Later, I asked her, ‘Why did you put us on the train?’ and she said it was the difference between the sure thing and the maybe thing,’ he told the Rochester Times.     

    When he was just seven years old Samet and his family were rounded up in Hungary by the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, in 1944 and put on a train to Auschwitz.

    But he was re-routed to Bergen-Belsen when Czechs blew up their train tracks.

    He spent 10 months in the camp before his family was released, just before the Allies liberated the camp.

    The White House has also invited Joshua Trump, who is of no relation to the President.

    Joshua Trump is a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Delaware.

    According to the White House, Joshua has been ‘bullied in school due to his last name.’

    Joshua’s parents have told of how they had to pull him out of school and change his surname because he has been relentlessly bullied since the 2016 election.




    Grace Eline (left), a young girl who was successfully treated for brain cancer, will also be in the gallery for the speech. Elvin Hernandez (right), a special agent who works for the Department of Homeland Security, will be at the speech as well. The President will likely highlight Hernandez’s experience in helping combat human trafficking by organized crime groups


    Tom Wibberley, the father of Craig Wibberley, the Navy Seaman who was one of 17 American military personnel killed in the bombing of the USS Cole

    His father, Robert Berto, home schooled him for a year.

    When Joshua became old enough to go to middle school, the family reentered him into the mainstream system but they say the bullying started again.

    Now they have taken the unusual step of having his name changed from Trump to Berto in the school’s database.

    The Trumps have also invited Alice Johnson, a mother-of-five, grandmother-of-six and great-grandmother of one who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of drug dealing in 1996.

    It was her first conviction and some of her co-conspirators testified against her in exchange for plea deals.

    At the urging of Kim Kardashian, President Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence. She was freed from prison in June after serving 22 years behind bars.

    WHO IS ALICE JOHNSON AND WHY IS KIM KARDASHIAN INVOLVED?


    Inside time: Alice Johnson in federal prison

    Alice Marie Johnson, a mother-of-five, grandmother-of-six and great-grandmother of one, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of drug dealing in 1996. 

    It was her first conviction and some of her co-conspirators testified her against in exchange for plea deals.

    The 63-year-old grew up in Olive Branch, Mississippi, and was married and pregnant by age 15.

    In 1989, she and her husband divorced. Her life started to crumble as she struggled, as a single mother, to try and be financially stable for her five children, reports Mic. However, in 1990, because of a gambling addition, she was sacked by FedEx Corporation. 

    After filing for bankruptcy in 1991, Johnson lost her house. The next year, a scooter accident claimed the life of her youngest son, Cory.

    It was while she was at rock bottom that Johnson became involved in a drug syndicate that imported cocaine into Memphis, Tennessee, where she acted as a go-between and passed on messages to drug dealers, relaying coded messages like ‘everything is straight’ by telephone.  

    While admitting to acting as a middle man for the drug traffickers, passing on the messages in code via telephone, Johnson claims she never directly sold drugs.

    She was arrested along with 15 others in 1993 on charges including conspiracy to possess cocaine, attempted possession of cocaine and money laundering.

    But ten of her alleged co-conspirators turned against her in exchange for reduced sentencing or dropped charges. 

    During the trial, evidence showed an operation with Texas-based Colombian drug dealers and their Memphis connections trading tons of cocaine for millions of dollars in cash.

    At the time of Johnson’s February 1997 sentencing the amount of drugs and money involved meant that federal laws mandated a life sentence, despite the fact Johnson was a first-time, nonviolent offender.

    US District Judge Julia Gibbons, who sentenced Johnson, called the then 42-year-old the ‘quintessential entrepreneur’ of the drug ring.


    Mom: Alice Johnson is now a great-grandmother as well

    ‘And clearly the impact of 2,000 to 3,000 kilograms of cocaine in this community is very significant,’ Gibbons said at the sentencing.

    The quantity of cocaine – up to three tons – would now be worth about $85 million. 

    Johnson was 21 years into her life sentence at FCI Aliceville, in Aliceville, Alabama before it was commuted by President Donald Trump on May 6.

    Her eldest daughter Tretessa Johnson, told Mic several years ago, ‘It’s like a waking death; it’s like the person is alive but they’re not. There’s never a point of closure, ever. It’s heartbreaking for me.’

    Tretessa has organized an online petition, via change.org, calling for her to be released, explaining that her family’s life ‘changed forever’ when she was sentenced to life in federal prison.

    She said her mother had explained that she became a telephone mule passing messages between her co-conspirators after losing her job at FedEx.

    Alice Johnson is quoted on Tretessa’s petition: ‘I couldn’t find a job fast enough to take care of my family. I felt like a failure.

    ‘I went to a complete panic and out of desperation I made one of the worst decisions in my life to make some quick money. I became involved in a drug conspiracy’.

    Tretessa said that her ‘mom’s desire upon release is to assist the community with the needs of ex-offenders to help reduce recidivism. 

    ‘It serves no purpose or benefit to society to have her locked up for life. Her large and loving immediate and extended family and friends would welcome her return.’

    During her time in prison, Johnson has displayed exemplary behavior, become an ordained minister, a published writer and a prison tutor, a biography from Can Do Clemency reports. 

    She had gained a large following of people pushing for her to be granted clemency. Part of this push saw her story turned into a short video, which went viral on social media.

    Kim Kardashian saw the video and retweeted it to her millions of followers with the caption: ‘This is so unfair’ in October last year. 

    Since then, she has been working to help Johnson receive clemency from Trump.

    The reality star had her personal lawyer begin working on Johnson’s case, and has spent months in conversation with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, on the topic.

    Kushner – whose father Charles is himself a federal felon – is pushing a criminal justice reform agenda. 

    A grateful Johnson penned a moving letter to Kardashian, saying her efforts were ‘literally helping to save my life’.

    ‘I was drowning, and you have thrown me a life jacket and given me hope,’ she wrote. 

    On May 30, Kardashian went to the White House to secure Johnson’s release.  

     Johnson was released on June 6 after having her sentence commuted.

    Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s guest for the State of the Union address is a woman who cornered Sen. Jeff Flake on live television to protest his support for Brett Kavanaugh.

    Ana Maria Archila, who lives in the star freshman Democrat’s New York District, said she will wear white and a pin that the congresswoman gave her that says, ‘Well-behaved women rarely make history.’

    ‘I never thought I’d be excited about being in the same room with Donald Trump,’ said Archila, co-executive director of the left-leaning Center for Popular Democracy. 

    Ocasio-Cortez invited her a few weeks ago, she said, adding, ‘We talked about making sure that we, with our presence, express the dignity of people who are under attack from this administration, the resilience. We will try to communicate that with the way we show up in the space.’

    Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court justice, is also expected to attend Trump’s address. Justices typically attend such speeches delivered by the president who appointed them.


    Ana Maria Archila confronted Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake during the saga over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court


    Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a video of herself with Archila announcing she would accompany her to the Tuesday speech 


    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted an image of a pin she picked up that said ‘Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History’

    During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in September, Archila and another woman confronted Flake in a Senate elevator and, live on CNN, yelled at the Arizona Republican for his intent to vote for the appellate court judge.

    Kavanaugh had been accused by Christine Blasey Ford of pinning her to a bed and groping her when the two were teenagers in the 1980s. 

    Flake later said he wanted to delay the Senate vote to give the committee time to investigate. He ultimately voted to confirm Kavanaugh and is now retired from the Senate.

    Kavanaugh angrily denied the accusation and was confirmed to the high court. 

    But Ford’s and Kavanaugh’s emotional appeals to the Judiciary Committee were a cultural watershed amid the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct. 

    Kavanaugh’s patron was Trump, who also has been accused of groping more than a dozen women and denies it.

     

    Source: Read Full Article

    Trump: military intervention in Venezuela ‘an option’, Russia objects

    Caracas: US President Donald Trump says military intervention in Venezuela is "an option" as Western nations boost pressure on socialist leader Nicolas Maduro to step down, but the troubled oil-rich nation's ally Russia is warning against "destructive meddling".

    Donald Trump’s administration is hinting at the threat of military intervention in Venezuela since recognising Juan Guaido as interim president.Credit:AP

    The United States, Canada and several Latin American countries have disavowed Maduro over his disputed re-election last year and recognised self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido as the country's rightful leader.

    Maduro, who has overseen an economic collapse and the exodus of millions of Venezuelans, still maintains the powerful backing of Russia, China and Turkey, and the critical support of the military.

    In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Trump said US military intervention was under consideration.

    "Certainly, it's something that's on the – it's an option," Trump said, adding that Maduro requested a meeting months ago.

    "I've turned it down because we're very far along in the process," he said in a CBS "Face the Nation" interview. "So, I think the process is playing out."

    An anti-government protester takes part in a road block in Caracas, Venezuela.Credit:AP

    The Trump administration last week issued crippling sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA, a key source of revenue.

    Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of various Venezuelan cities on Saturday to protest Maduro's government.

    France and Austria said on Sunday they would recognise Guaido if Maduro did not respond to the European Union's call for a free and fair presidential election by Sunday night.

    Juan Guaido, president of the National Assembly who swore himself in as the leader of Venezuela, speaks during a pro-opposition protest in Caracas.Credit:Bloomberg

    Russia, a major creditor to Venezuela in recent years and an ideological ally to Maduro, quickly urged restraint.

    "The international community's goal should be to help [Venezuela], without destructive meddling from beyond its borders," Alexander Shchetinin, head of the Latin America department at Russia's Foreign Ministry, told Interfax.

    Military in focus

    Maduro in comments on state television promised peace for the country without specifically responding to Trump.

    Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, right, has stepped up his appearances with the military.Credit:AP

    "In Venezuela, there will be peace, and we will guarantee this peace with the civil military union," he said in the company of khaki and black-clad soldiers who were earlier shown carrying guns and jumping from helicopters into the sea.

    Venezuela's ambassador to Iraq, Jonathan Velasco, became the latest official to recognise opposition leader Guaido this weekend. Air Force General Francisco Yanez in a video also called on members of the military to defect but there were no signs the armed forces were turning against Maduro.

    Venezuela has as many as 2000 generals, according to unofficial estimates, many of whom do not command troops and whose defection would not necessarily weaken the ruling socialists.

    The police have also fallen in line with Maduro.

    A special forces unit called FAES led home raids following unrest associated with opposition protests in January, killing as many as 10 people in a single operation in a hillside slum of Caracas.

    Anti-government protesters take part in a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on Saturday.Credit:AP

    Latin American governments with the help of the United States are seeking to deliver humanitarian aid to Venezuela, which is suffering medicine shortages, malnutrition and hyperinflation that has led millions to emigrate.

    Guaido on Sunday was expected to make an announcement regarding international humanitarian aid that would come through Colombia, Brazil and a Caribbean island and said he was counting on the armed forces to help bring it into Venezuela.

    "The USAID [US Agency for International Development] is working hard to help the people of Venezuela with humanitarian assistance such as these tonnes of Ready-to-Use Supplementary Foods for malnourished children," USAID Administrator Mark Green tweeted on Saturday, posting photos of boxes piled up.

    On Sunday, he reported on meetings with US diplomats and vowed that "together we willr estore citizen-responsive democracy" in the country.

    It is unclear whether Maduro's government, which denies the country is suffering a humanitarian crisis, will let any foreign aid through.

    Reuters

    Source: Read Full Article

    Okinawans demand end to US military flights over schools

    Recent ‘mishaps’ have amplified calls to ban military aircraft from flying over educational institutions.

      Ginowan City, Okinawa – On the morning of December 7, a group of one-year-old students were getting ready to play outside at their nursery school on the Japanese island of Okinawa when the sound of a low-flying helicopter and a loud bang rang out.

      “Some children let out a cry,” recalls Eriko Miyagi, a childcare worker and mother of one of the students at the Midorigaoka nursery school.

      Miyagi’s colleagues ran to the roof and found a cylindrical object with a red label bearing the words: “Remove before flight” and “US”.

      Less than a week later, on December 13, a metal window frame appeared to fall from the sky onto the grounds of a nearby elementary school.

      The 7.7kg window shattered during a gym class attended by about 50 students at the Futenma No2 Elementary School. A 10-year-old boy standing less than 15 metres away suffered a minor injury.

      Both incidents allegedly involved a CH-53E helicopter belonging to the US Marine Corps Air Station in Futenma, which is separated from the elementary school by only a fence. 

      While no children were seriously hurt, the incidents have amplified calls by the local community to halt flights over schools.

      ‘How is this allowed to happen?’

      Tomoko Miyagi has children attending both the nursery school and elementary school involved in December’s incidents.

      “I just couldn’t understand,” Miyagi tells Al Jazeera. “In what world is this allowed to happen?”

      She is one of a group of parents who launched a campaign calling for a ban on military planes flying over schools.

      In late December, some 600 parents and their supporters rallied in front of the city hall in Ginowan.

      Earlier this month, the headmaster and members of the parent’s association of Midorigaoka nursery school visited Japanese government officials in Tokyo to deliver a petition with more than 10,000 signatures. In addition to halting flights over local schools, the petition calls for a full investigation into the incident at the nursery school.

      Their campaign comes as the US military – in tandem with the Japanese government – is building a US Marine Corps base in Henoko despite ongoing protests, as part of a plan to “relocate” the airbase station in Futenma to the less-populated village on Okinawa.

      “We’re not asking for our problems to be relocated somewhere else,” says Yukiko Chinen, whose five-year-old daughter attends the nursery. “We’re simply asking them to stop,” she tells Al Jazeera.

      According to Japan’s Ministry of Defense, there were at least 25 incidents involving US military aircraft in Japan last year.

      The majority took place in Okinawa, home to more than 70 percent of US military bases in Japan despite being only 0.6 percent of the country’s territory.

      Last year, the total number of flight “mishaps” by the US Marine Corps was the highest since 2004, according to data from the US Naval Safety Center.

      So far this year, there have been at least three forced landings by US military aircraft on Okinawa.

      The US military admitted that the cylindrical object that fell on the roof of the nursery school in December did belong to its CH-53 helicopter and that one of them had taken off towards to nursery school that day, but added that all cylinders on board the aircraft were accounted for.

      In a statement to Al Jazeera, Gregory Cronen of the First Marine Aircraft Wing, said that “all the inventory of the type of object identified on the roof of the Midorigaoka Nursery School that were used on the 1st MAW aircraft that was operating in that area” on that day was accounted for, and that the department does not have any “further information on this object or … its origin”. 

      After the window incident at the Futenma elementary school, the US military vowed to try to fly around the school in the future, but within a week, helicopters could be heard overhead.

      Cronen told Al Jazeera that since the incident, the First Marine Aircraft Wing had “conducted a detailed review of [its] flight patterns around Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in order to determine the safest departure and arrival patterns considering the many schools and sensitive areas located in close proximity to the base”. 

      But on Friday, the US military admitted that a helicopter flew over the Futenma No2 Elementary school that same day, according to local media. It said it had launched an investigation into the incident. 

      ‘You’d think the war never ended’

      The recent incidents are part of a layered history of occupation on the islands. 

      Annexed by Japan in 1879, Okinawa became the site of one of the bloodiest battles between Japan and the US during WWII, in which about 120,000 inhabitants lost their lives. 

      As WWII neared its end in 1945, the US military placed hundreds of thousands of Okinawans into internment camps and seized land from local villagers to build military bases throughout the island. Under the US post-war occupation, Okinawa was turned into a military hub.

      Since Japan’s defeat, US bases continue to occupy almost 20 percent of Okinawa’s main island.

      The Futenma air station, located in the densely populated city of Ginowan, occupies an area that was once home to roughly 10,000 residents. Today, a number of schools, hospitals and houses surround the base.

      “Our grandparents were given no choice but to build homes and schools around the base,” says Eriko Miyagi, who also grew up near the air station.

      “With all these helicopters, you’d think the war never ended,” Chinen tells Al Jazeera.

      For those who grew up near the base and now have children at the school, they say they feel “nothing has changed.”

      Yoshino Oshiro, whose two children attend the nursery school, says a CH-53D helicopter crashed into one of her school’s buildings when she was a university student.

      “When I heard the news [in December], it immediately brought me back to that day,” says Oshiro.

      Chiemi Yonashiro, who attended the Futenma No2 Elementary school as a child and whose three-year-old daughter currently attends the nursery school, says it was normal to hear low-flying military planes.

      “It was normal for the teacher to suspend class because of the noise from military planes,” Yonashiro says.

      ‘Children don’t forget’ 

      As parents call for a halt to flights over their children’s schools, a lawsuit has also been filed by more than 22,000 residents in Kadena, Okinawa – home to the largest US military combat air wing in the Pacific – demanding a ban on nighttime and early morning flights. Since the first legal suit filed in 1982, residents have continued to speak out about the impact noise pollution from US military aircraft have had on their lives.

      In February 2017, the Naha District Court granted compensation to residents claiming insomnia and hearing disorders from the noise pollution but ruled against banning flights at the Kadena airbase, saying that Japan “cannot restrict” flights at a US facility. The plaintiffs plan to appeal the court’s ruling.

      Shinchi Taira, one of the plaintiffs who organises weekly protests outside Kadena airbase, says that many survivors of WWII who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are often triggered by the sounds of military aircraft hovering overhead.

      It was normal for the teacher to suspend class because of the noise from military planes.

      Chiemi Yonashiro, parent

      The recent string of accidents, he worries, could leave a similar psychological imprint.

      “Children don’t forget,” says Taira, who remembers watching B-52 bombers take off for Vietnam from his family’s garden as an elementary school student.

      In the summer of 1959, when Taira was just eight years old, an F-100 fighter jet crashed into an elementary school in central Okinawa, killing 17 people, including 11 students.

      “We carry these memories throughout our lives,” he says.

      Source: Read Full Article

      US military intervention in Venezuela is not imminent: Bolton

      National security adviser John Bolton said Friday that US military intervention in Venezuela is not imminent — but that all options remain on the table, according to a report.

      “No,” Bolton said when asked by conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt if a military intervention by the US — or by Brazil or Colombia, or a combined force — is imminent in the South American country wracked by social and political turmoil.

      “The president said all options are on the table. But our objective is a peaceful transfer of power,” he added. “When we say all options are on the table, we want to keep it at that level. And going beyond that, I think, would be imprudent.”

      Team Trump is seeking to squeeze Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro out of power and has backed opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, leader of the National Assembly.

      For months, Trump has floated the possibility of invading Venezuela, saying in August 2017 that the US has “many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.”

      Bolton was photographed at a White House news briefing this week holding a notepad with the phrase “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it.

      The US has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA, and Bolton has warned other countries not to deal with Maduro’s government regarding other assets.

      “We’ve been imposing economic sanctions, increasing political pressure from around the world,” Bolton told Hewitt. “The overwhelming majority of the people of the country want the Maduro regime thrown out. That’s what we hope and expect to do.”

      A senior official told Reuters that Venezuela plans to sell 15 tons of gold from central bank vaults to the United Arab Emirates.

      Bolton responded to the report in several tweets Friday.

      “Not only does Maduro require foreign paramilitary support to keep remaining threads of a failed dictatorship, but reports show he is flying out Venezuelan assets by the plane full,” he wrote. “Is he stealing resources from the people to pay for Russian intervention?”

      “The National Assembly wants to use this gold to pay for food and basic needs of the people of Venezuela, including the families of soldiers in Venezuela,” he said.

      Source: Read Full Article

      Pentagon report raises concerns over China attacking Taiwan

      WASHINGTON — Amid increasing tensions with Beijing, the Pentagon has released a new report that lays out U.S. concerns about China’s growing military might, underscoring worries about a possible attack against Taiwan.

      Speaking to reporters, a senior defense intelligence official said Tuesday that the key concern is that as China upgrades its military equipment and technology and reforms how it trains and develops troops, it becomes more confident in its ability to wage a regional conflict. And Beijing’s leaders have made it clear that reasserting sovereignty over Taiwan is a top priority.

      The official added, however, that although China could easily fire missiles at Taiwan, it doesn’t yet have the military capability to successfully invade the self-governing island, which split from mainland China amid civil war in 1949. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to provide more detail on intelligence findings in the report, which was written by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

      A Chinese government spokeswoman said the report “is full of Cold War ideology and zero-sum game thinking” and suggested the U.S. was making excuses to strengthen or develop its own weapons of mass destruction.

      “We use rules rather than weapons to safeguard and promote our own interests,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

      The report’s release Tuesday comes just a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping called on his People’s Liberation Army to better prepare for combat. China has warned the U.S. against further upgrading military ties with Taiwan and has threatened to use force against the island to assert its claim of sovereignty. Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. has taken incremental moves to bolster ties with the island, including renewed arms sales and upgraded contacts between officials.

      U.S.-China tensions have become increasingly frayed on the military and economic fronts over the past year. Trump imposed tariff increases of up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Xi responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods.

      And last year the Pentagon disinvited China to a major, multinational Pacific exercise, citing Beijing’s militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea.

      The ongoing rise of China, in fact, has triggered greater U.S. military attention on the Indo-Pacific region over the last several years. And last year’s release of the U.S. National Defense Strategy emphasized the importance of great power competition with Russia and China. And it asserted that China’s rapidly expanding military and Russia’s increasing aggression are threatening America’s military advantage around the world.

      Just after taking over as the acting defense secretary, Pat Shanahan told his military service leaders on Jan. 2 that their focus should be “China, China, China.”

      The DIA report talks broadly about the steps China is taking to modernize its military and expand its operations around the globe. The worry, said the defense intelligence official, is that China will reach the point where leaders will decide that using military force for a regional conflict such as Taiwan is more imminent.

      “Beijing’s longstanding interest to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence has served as the primary driver for China’s military modernization,” the report says. “Beijing’s anticipation that foreign forces would intervene in a Taiwan scenario led the PLA to develop a range of systems to deter and deny foreign regional force projection.”

      Over time, the report said, the PLA is “likely to grow even more technologically advanced, with equipment comparable to that of other modern militaries.” That would include advanced fighter aircraft, ships, missile systems and space and cyberspace capabilities.

      Cyberthreats from China have long been a major U.S. concern, stretching from massive data breaches and the theft of trade secrets to Beijing’s campaign to improve its ability to conduct cyberattacks. The U.S. official said China has been working very hard on developing ways to combine cyberattack capabilities with other kinetic weapons that can be used in combat.

      Still, the official said Beijing will face a significant challenge as it tries to bring generational change to its military.

      Until now, China has mainly done tightly controlled regional operations and some counterpiracy missions. It will be more difficult, the official said, to create a joint force capable of conducting large, complex combat operations far abroad.

      Source: Read Full Article

      China’s advanced military arsenal is 'surpassing' the US as growing superpower seeks to dominate rivals, Pentagon warns

      US defence officials have said China’s growing military might could lead it to attack Taiwan, which America is committed to defend.

       

      In recent years China has poured resources into weapons advanced fighter aircraft, ships, missile systems and space and cyberspace capabilities.

      The new ‘China Military Power’ report said the People's Liberation Army is "likely to grow even more technologically advanced, with equipment comparable to that of other modern militaries”.

      The report comes as China’s President Xi Jinping ordered the nation’s military to prepare for war in 2019 as tensions with the United States continue to rise.

      New US Defense secretary, Pat Shanahan meanwhile told his military service leaders that their focus should be "China, China, China”.

      Chinese and US warships are engaged in a tense standoff in disputed areas of the South China Sea and the two nations are also engaged in a trade war.

      The People's Liberation Army is likely to grow even more technologically advanced

      But China’s determination to bring Taiwan – which split from the mainland amid civil war in 1949- under its control is the likeliest threat to peace, the new report has found.

      A Pentagon official said the concern is that China is “getting to a point where the PLA leadership may actually tell Xi Jinping that they are confident in their capabilities” which would lead to invasion.

      The official said China has been working very hard on developing ways to combine cyberattack capabilities with weapons that can be used in combat.

      China threatens to surpass America with hypersonic weaponry capable of going Mach 5 or faster, Defense News reports.

      In the last two years, the Pentagon has been increasingly vocal about the need to invest more in its hypersonic capabilities, both offensive and defensive to match Chinese efforts.

      J-20 STEALTH FIGHTER

      In an attempt to surpass the US in air superiority, China launched its first stealth fighter into fully operational, frontline service.

      The J-20 has a top speed of Mach 2.5 designed to match the US F-35 and F-22 aircraft and a recent US report said it gave China  “previously unavailable air combat options”.

      Hidden in the aircraft’s body are three large internal weapon bays — two smaller bays carry air-to-air missiles, while the larger third bay hides anti-ship or air-to-surface missiles and bombs.

      The J-20 is also believed to be equipped with full 360 degree infra-red/electro-optic detection systems which allows the pilot to look in any direction.

      SPACE CONFLICT

      US intelligence agencies believe within the next few years China could possess “destructive” weapons for use in a potential space conflict.

      According to a report, the country will use anti-satellite weapons such as ballistic missiles to damage space-based systems.

      HYPERSONIC MISSILES

      At the end of last year CM-401 supersonic ballistic missile which it claims will be able to take out US warships – particularly aircraft carriers – with one hit.

      According to its maker, the missile is capable of travelling at six times the speed of sound and is capable of hypersonic maneuverable flight on its way to a target.

      Once it begins its dive from its space trajectory, it is very difficult to intercept because of its hypersonic velocity.

      China is also testing the DF-17 ballistic missile combined with a hypersonic glide vehicle which is reportedly due to enter service in 2020.

      UNDERWATER SURVEILLANCE NETWORK

      China is reportedly building up its remote outposts with military facilities including missile shelters, sensor arrays, and radar systems.
      The move is part of the country’s efforts to assert itself as an emerging maritime power in the contested South China Sea.

      The system, which uses buoys, surface vessels, satellites and underwater gliders, is able to gathering a plethora of data about the underwater environment from the South China Sea, and the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.

      ELECTROMAGNETIC RAILGUN

      The first experimental deployment of a new ‘supergun’ aboard a warship is one of the most high profile additions to China’s military.

      Images of the weapon, which places China ahead of the United States, first surfaced after being leaked by online.

      The weapon uses powerful magnets to sling warheads down its barrel and into the air, with the ammunition able to be fired faster and further than traditional cannons.







      Source: Read Full Article