Defense Department To Probe Death Of Four Soldiers In Niger

The Defense Department is opening an investigation into the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in Niger last week, as President Trump faces criticism for how he has approached the bereaved families.

The probe will examine the military’s preparation for the operation as questions swirl about the quality of the U.S. Africa Command’s intelligence reports, including why the October 5 ambush wasn’t anticipated, CNN reports.

 The soldiers, part of a 12-strong Special Forces team led by Green Berets, were on their back from a meeting with local community leaders when they were ambushed by a group of 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, according to CNN. The soldiers were reportedly only armed with rifles and their vehicles were not armored. The attack lasted 30 minutes until French air support dispersed the militants and helicopters evacuated American forces.

The four soldiers killed in the shootout— Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, and Sgt. La David Johnson — were the first American soldiers killed by hostile fire since the U.S. began providing training and assistance to local military forces, the New York Times reported. Another soldiers two injured in the attack and were taken to Niamey, the capital, about 124 miles away.

The probe is also expected to look into how one of the slain soldiers, Sgt. La David Johnson, became separated from the rest of the group. His body was recovered 48 hours later.

Trump Threatens Military Action On North Korea

President Donald Trump on Saturday said ‘only one thing will work’ when it comes to North Korea. Trump repeated criticisms of past administrations that failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons

‘Sorry, but only one thing will work!’ Trump tweeted on Saturday.

The president has previously said the United States would destroy North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies.

He told reporters Thursday night that a jovial photo-op with top military leaders could represent ‘the calm before the storm.’

Asked what would work to constrain North Korea on Saturday evening, Trump said, ‘Well, you’ll figure that out pretty soon.’

Air France Plane Engine Fails Over Atlantic Ocean

An Air France flight from Paris to Los Angeles was forced to make a sudden diversion when it lost part of an engine over the Atlantic.

One of the four engines on the Airbus A380 flight AF66 failed west of Greenland on Saturday.

No-one was injured in the incident, but passengers remained on board hours after the landing at 15:42 GMT.

The plane was carrying 496 passengers and 24 crew at the time, an Air France spokesperson told AFP news agency.

David Rehmar, a former aircraft mechanic who was a passenger on the flight, told the BBC that based on his observations, the incident was a fan failure.

He said there was a sudden movement followed by a loud noise, which caused panic among the passengers.

“You heard a loud ‘boom’, and it was the vibration alone that made me think the engine had failed,” he said.

Mr Rehmar said that for a few moments, he thought “we were going to go down.”

Nuclear Threat: US ‘In Direct Contact’ With North Korea, Says Tillerson

The United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson has said it is in “direct contact” with North Korea over Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests.

Mr Tillerson stated this is in China while meeting with President Xi Jinping and other officials.

Recall that the United Nations slammed economic sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to force the secretive state to stop its weapons programme.

Tillerson is hoping to encourage China to implement the sanctions.

Meanwhile, China this week told North Korean businesses operating in its territory to close down. It however remains keen to see negotiations with North Korea.

10 People Reported Dead In Military Cargo Plane Crash

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) say at least 10 people have died after a military cargo aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from the capital Kinshasa.

Lambert Mende, a government spokesperson, confirmed the crash of the Antonov cargo plane after take-off from Kinshasa’s Ndjili International Airport based on reports from airport officials.

“The military cargo plane crashed around 7:30am (06:30 GMT), a few minutes after taking off from the airport,” Georges Tabora, director of the airport, said in a statement.

The aircraft experienced a technical problem shortly after take-off and lost radio contact with the control tower, Tabora said, adding that all 10 crew members aboard died in the incident.

Aljazeera

Chinese Police Order Muslims To Hand In All Copies Of Koran Or Face ‘Harsh Punishments’

Chinese authorities are ordering Muslims in the country to hand over their prayer mats and copies of the Quran or else face punishment, it has been reported.

Officials in Xinjiang province warned members of the Uyghur ethnic minority they must surrender religious items on pain of “harsh punishments”, according to an exile leader.

“We received a notification saying that every single ethnic Uyghur must hand in any Islam-related items from their own home, including Qurans, prayers and anything else bearing the symbols of religion,” Dilxat Raxit, of the exile World Uyghur Congress, told Radio Free Asia (RFA), which is operated by the US government.

The directive also applies to ethnic Kazakh and Kyrgyz Muslims, RFA said.

The Independent

Trump’s Comments ‘Clearly A Declaration Of War’, Says North Korea

North Korea’s foreign minister said Donald Trump has declared war on his country.

Ri Yong-ho said Pyongyang reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down US strategic bombers even if they are not in the North’s air space.

“The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country,” he told reporters in New York.

“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”

Independent

Trump Extends Travel Ban To North Korea And Venezuela

The United States will prohibit entry of citizens from North Korea and Venezuela to the nation as part of a sweeping new travel ban, the Trump administration said on Sunday.

The bans and restrictions do not have any time limits; in effect, they are indefinite.

The new restrictions, slated to go into effect on October 18, resulted from a review after President Donald Trump’s original travel bans were challenged in court.

Trump tweeted Sunday: ‘Making America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.’

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.

 

Russia Says War Of Words Between Trump And Kim Jong-Un Is ‘A Fight Between Two Children’

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has compared Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un to nursery children, after the two leaders traded insults and threats.

Lavrov described the leaders as “hotheads” who needed to “calm down”.

“Yes, it’s unacceptable to silently watch North Korea’s nuclear military adventures, but it is also unacceptable to unleash war on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

Calling for a political solution to the dispute, he said: “Together with China we’ll continue to strive for a reasonable approach and not an emotional one like when children in a kindergarten start fighting and no-one can stop them.”

Independent

R

Trump Threatens To ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea …Calls Iraq A Rogue Nation

If the United States is “forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” President Trump told a UN gathering.

In his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump denounced North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un, saying the nation “threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life” as a result of its nuclear weapons progra

“If the righteous many don’t confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” he said.

Trump emphasized that it was against the interest of the entire world for North Korea — which he called a “band of criminals” — to obtain missiles and nuclear weapons.

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself,” he said of Mr. Kim.

But the president also said America would act alone if needed. He emphasized an “America first” agenda, and said that while the United States would “forever be a great friend to the world and especially to its allies,” his primary responsibility was to Americans.

“All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens,” Mr. Trump said. “Our government’s first duty is to its people.”

“In foreign affairs we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty,” he said. “As president, I will always put America first, just like you as the leaders of your countries will always — and should always — put your countries first.”

Trump denounces Iran as a ‘rogue nation.’

After condemning North Korea, Mr. Trump pivoted to the next “rogue nation” — Iran.

He slammed the Iran nuclear deal, calling it “an embarrassment” and one of the worst that the United States has ever entered into.

Trump has long portrayed Iran as a sponsor of terrorism and has suggested that the United States may abandon the 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration and five other major powers that limited Iran’s nuclear activities. So far Mr. Trump has grudgingly accepted the nuclear agreement despite having described it as a disgrace.

The world’s nuclear inspectors recently declared that inspections found no evidence that Iran is breaching the agreement. A meeting of the parties that negotiated the deal with Iran — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — will take place on the sidelines of the General Assembly on Wednesday.

“It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Mr. Trump told the United Nations on Tuesday.

Trust ‘is being driven down,’ the secretary general warns.

Opening the General Assembly session, Secretary General António Guterres gravely warned about nuclear peril and climate change, and offered pointed reminders about “stronger international cooperation.”

“Trust within and among countries is being driven down by those who demonize and divide,” he said in a speech that included English, French and Spanish.

To Myanmar’s government, Mr. Guterres issued a blunt directive. “The authorities in Myanmar must end the military operations and allow unhindered humanitarian access,” he said.

He added that he was encouraged by the remarks of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, but said that Rohingya people who have fled their homes must be allowed to return home in dignity.

On climate change, Mr. Guterres referred to the hurricanes that recently ravaged the United States and the Caribbean, and called for the world to step up its promises, made under the Paris climate agreement, to contain carbon emissions.

“We know enough today to act,” he said. “the science is unassailable.”

On the rights of refugees and migrants, he assailed what he called “closed doors and open hostility” and called on countries to treat those crossing borders with “simple decency and human compassion.”

New York Times

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