24 July 2017

News Report: US to Launch New THAAD Missile Defense Test to Counter North Korean Threat

A THAAD Interceptor missile test launch
According to a warning notice from the US Coast Guard for mariners who intend to traverse the thousands of miles between Kodiak Island, Alaska, and the Hawaiian islands next weekend, a live-fire THAAD missile test has been scheduled by the US military.

As soon as next weekend, according to the Coast Guard, the US will conduct a live-fire test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska on Alaska's Kodiak Island.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), in a test that "validated THAAD's ability to intercept intermediate range ballistic missiles," successfully conducted a live fire launch on Kodiak Island earlier this month, according to Chris Johnson, MDA public affairs director, cited by ABCNews.

The previous test saw the launch of "two interceptors from two co-located launchers," according to Johnson, cited by the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

News Report: Taliban Kidnaps at Least 60, Kills 7 in Southern Afghanistan

Taliban insurgents have kidnapped at least 60 people from a village in southern Kandahar, Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Saturday, with seven of those prisoners reportedly killed.

Reports of the incident varied. A spokesman for the provincial governor told The Associated Press the villagers were kidnapped in a series of Taliban attacks on buses over the last four days, although the head of Kandahar provincial police told AFP the kidnappings took place Friday in the villagers' home.

"The Taliban abducted 70 people from their house in a village along the Kandahar-Tarinkot highway, Friday. They killed seven of them today," police chief Abdul Raziq told AFP. "Their bodies were found by villagers this morning."

Raziq said the insurgents released 30 of the hostages and were still holding 30 others. Samim Khpolwak, a spokesman for the governor, however, told the AP that 20 people escaped from their captors and 33 were still being held. He confirmed seven people had been killed.

Khpolwak said the buses were traveling to Uruzgan province when they were attacked.

The Taliban has not yet claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.

News Story: China, Russia conduct simulation exercise for joint naval drills

Chinese Warships underway (File Photo)
KALININGRAD, Russia, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Russian commanders conducted a simulation exercise here on Sunday for the ongoing joint military drills code-named "Joint Sea 2017" in the Baltic Sea.

In the hours-long exercise, two tactical assault groups, consisting of mixed warships from the Chinese and Russian fleets, simulated details of the drills on a map, including ship-to-sea firing by secondary cannons, air defense, joint landing and inspection, maritime search and rescue, underway replenishment and other subjects.

"The simulation exercise was conducted for two purposes, namely, making commanders at all levels more familiar with the procedures and subjects of the drills, as well as enhancing coordination and tacit understanding between commanders of the two countries," said Wang Xiaoyong, deputy captain of a destroyer detachment of the Chinese Navy.

During the drills, the participating air forces and sea forces will be deployed through unified guidance by a joint directing center, a joint headquarter and a tactical command post, which are formed by commanders from both countries.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippine gov't to intensify offensive to quell IS terrorists - military

MANILA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government on Sunday warned Islamist militants and their sympathizers to surrender or face the full force of the law.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued the warning a day after the Philippine Congress approved the extension of martial law in the entire Mindanao until the end of the year.

He said security forces are determined to defeat terrorism within the next five months when martial law is enforced in the south Mindanao region.

"With the overwhelming vote of confidence from our legislature and the ardent support of the Filipino people, your defense department will strive even more to deal with the rebellion decisively and expeditiously," Lorenzanna said in a statement.

Lorenzana urged militants to return to the government fold, saying the government is ready to welcome them anytime they want without any conditions.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Taliban group intensifies activities in Afghanistan northern regions

KABUL, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Taliban have obviously increased activities in Afghanistan's northern region as the armed insurgents conducted series of offensives in a few districts in a single day on Sunday, leaving over three dozen people dead and injured, officials said.

The armed insurgents, according to local media reports, in a surprise move overrun Kohistanat district in the northern Faryab province on Sunday morning.

Confirming the report, Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit, in contact with media claimed that the militants after fierce fighting and inflicting over two dozen casualties to the government forces captured the headquarters of Kohistanat district at wee hours of the day.

Without furnishing details the spokesman of Faryab police, Abdul Karim Yuresh, has confirmed the fall of Kohistanat district to the Taliban.

Taliban' rule on Kohistanat, according to local observers would facilitate militants to influence parts of the neighboring Ghor and Badghis provinces.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: 8 policemen injured in scuffle with troopers in Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Eight Indian policemen including a junior-level officer were injured after Indian army troopers barged inside a police station and thrashed them in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said Saturday.

The incident took place Friday night at Gund in Ganderbal district, about 56 km north of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The injured policemen were later removed to hospital and photographs from the hospital showed policemen in multiple injuries.

"A case has been registered against the army troopers for attacking a police station and thrashing policemen on duty," a police official told Xinhua.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: N. Korea lambastes S. Korea's parliament for resolution against ICBM

North Korea's Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile July-4-2017
SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea warned Saturday South Korea's lawmakers will pay a "harsh price" for adopting a resolution against its recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.

What the South's National Assembly has done so far is only raising the mood of inter-Korean hostility in the country's community, doing nothing to help promote unity, reconciliation and unification, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the communist nation's official mouthpiece, claimed.

It will "pay a price in the harshest way for daring to challenge our loft system and self-defense measure," it added without elaborating.

Earlier this week, the South's parliament passed the resolution condemning the North for its July 4 launch of an ICBM. Pyongyang announced that the test was successful.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: S. Korea vows to seek dialogue with and sanctions on N. Korea

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top diplomat reiterated Saturday that Seoul will seek dialogue with North Korea while keeping up pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang over its provocations.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in a phone conversation with her British counterpart Boris Johnson earlier in the day that Seoul will continue to push for engagement with North Korea, noting that pressure is meant to bring the isolated country back to the negotiating table.

Her comments came as North Korea has remained silent on South Korea's recent offer for two separate talks on military matters and family reunions.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: Chinese ambassador calls for quick solution over missile row

THAAD Interceptor test launch (File Photo)
SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- China's top envoy to South Korea called Saturday for a solution to quickly end a monthslong diplomatic row over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohong said the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system had a "serious impact" on the mutual trust between the two countries, calling it "the biggest hurdle" for the development of bilateral relations.

"Many South Koreans say Beijing is retaliating against Seoul. But exchange and cooperation between countries call for political common ground, and we need to quickly find ways to resolve the issue," Qiu said in a business forum in South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju.

China has imposed restrictions on South Korean imports and banned the sale of group tour packages to its neighbor in protest of the U.S. missile system in South Korea.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: Pakistan Army Captures Strategic Mountain Top In Operation

The Pakistan Army announced on Saturday that it had completed the first phase of Operation Khyber-IV in the Rajgal area of Khyber Agency after gaining control of a key mountain top called Brekh Top, Dawn news reported.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the valley associated with Brekh Top is now being cleared adding that the mountain top had been cleared on Friday night by the Special Services Group (SSG).

"Every inch of Pakistan will be peaceful, no one can beat resilient Pakistan,” Geo TV quoted ISPR as saying.

During the operation to clear Brekh Top, many “terrorists” were killed with a few managing to escape to Afghanistan, Geo TV reported.

“Terrorists’ hideouts” were cleared and caches of IEDs, arms and ammunition were recovered during the operation,” the reported stated.

Dawn News said two soldiers had been killed in the operation, which covered a total so far of 250 square kilometers.

Read the full story at TOLOnews