News of the Force: Monday, January 22, 2018 - Page 1

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                                               NEWS OF THE FORCE: Monday, January 22, 2018 - Page 1


Senators reach deal to reopen the US Government
US Capitol west side.JPG     
      US Senate Minority Leader Schumer said today he had come to an arrangement with Majority Leader McConnell to keep the government open until Feb. 8th.
     
In a message to News of the Force this afternoon, President Trump wrote: "You are the reason our government is back open. Ever since the Schumer Shutdown, we received 48 petitions per second from Americans like you, demanding Democrats stop holding our military hostage to give amnesty to illegal immigrants. Democrats in red states we won big league saw how angry you were with their disgusting tactics, and couldn’t go on any longer. This is how we win - by rallying together and fighting. But during this shutdown, Pelosi raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from her radical base that wants unchecked illegal immigration. We can’t let them get away with it. We will never forget the names of every single liberal obstructionist responsible for this disgusting shut down, and we will work to fire them come November."

Japan's capital city holds first North Korean missile attack drill
Flag of North Korea     
      Tokyo held its first missile evacuation drill today with volunteers taking cover in subway stations and other underground spaces that would double as shelters for the Japanese capital in the event of a North Korean missile strike.
      Meanwhile, t
he head of North Korea's most popular female band visited South Korea yesterday to check preparations for an art troupe's performance during next month's Winter Olympics.
      And i
f you think our present nuclear arsenal is scary, wait until you see what President Trump has in the works. On-going threats from North Korea, paired with China and Russia's growing military capabilities, has motivated President Donald Trump promised to enhance our nuclear weapon arsenal and the overall US nuclear strategy. This has inspired somewhat of a debate in Washington. The Pentagon believes there is no better time to enhance the US' nuclear forces, while critics believe it will encourage other countries to do the same and will lower the threshold for testing these weapons and ultimately, risk a nuclear war.

Davos offers Modi a stage
PM Modi 2015.jpg     
      Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares this week to address global business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland, as his country passes France and the United Kingdom to become the world's fifth-largest economy. 
Over 3,000 global leaders from business, government, politics, academia and social sectors are participating at the summit.
      Meanwhile,
India has now begun final contract negotiations with Russia for the over $5.5 billion acquisition of five advanced S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems, which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones.

Volcano in the Philippines finally erupts

Mt.Mayon tam3rd.jpg     
       The
Mayon Volcano in the Philippines erupted in a massive ash cloud this afternoon, local time, prompting the threat associated with the deadly volcano to be raised from Level 3 to Level 4 by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

UK warned that Russian threat requires increased defense spending
General Sir Nicholas Carter at Chatham House 2015.jpg      
       Britain's Defense Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Sir Nick Carter, is warning that the UK is trailing Russia in terms of defense spending and capability.

Africa's first elected female leader is stepping down
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf February 2015.jpg      
       Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize as a champion of women's rights, is stepping down after making history as Africa's first elected female president in Liberia.
      
For the first time since 1944, Liberia will have a democratic transfer of power as former soccer star George Weah is sworn in as the country's new president today.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards feel effects of modernization
Seal of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.svg      
      
Iran's Revolutionary Guards, an elite branch of the country's military, have been directed to sell off its assets and businesses that don't pertain to their function.

Canada and Mexico seek to head off US' exit from NAFTA
Logo of the NAFTA Secretariat of North American Free Trade Agreement      
      
Canadian and Mexican trade officials in Montreal yesterday began laying out proposals aimed at convincing their US counterparts not to put an end to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
       Talks to modernize NAFTA were originally scheduled to wrap up by the end of 2017, but the US, Canada and Mexico have agreed to continue negotiating until March.

Libya arrests 61 people involved in airport attack
       The Libyan Special Deterrent Force arrested 61 militants involved in the recent attack on Tripoli's M'etiga International Airport, said the force in a statement yesterday.

Brexit costs Britain a data center for Europe's satnav system
Circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background      
     
Officials have decided to move a data center for the European Union's new satellite navigation system out of Britain because of the Brexit.

Proposed new force in Syria isn't a new army
By Lisa Levine, News of the Force Tel Aviv
Centered menorah surrounded by two olive branches     
      A new force, expected to number some 30,000 fighters, isn't really a new army. At least half its members are already operating in northern Syria as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a militia comprised of Syrian Kurds and Syrian Arabs which America backs. Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria against the Kurdish militia opens yet another front in the seven-year Syrian conflict, and risks giving ISIS breathing room just as it was being suffocated.
      Three Kurdish officials have said that Russian military officials have proposed handing over a Kurdish-ruled enclave in Syria's northwest to the Syrian government.
      US Vice President Mike Pence is visiting Jerusalem after stops in Egypt and Jordan. The visit comes after the Trump administration's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pence began his visit to Israel yesterday after being praised as a "great friend" by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shunned by the Palestinians.
      In pointed public remarks, Jordan's King Abdullah II told Vice President Pence yesterday that he had repeatedly warned Washington about the risks of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
      Dozens of Satmar hassidim were rescued by firefighters after the California hotel they were staying at went up in flames on Friday night. The hassidim were spending Shabbat at California's Royal Hotel in Palm Springs in order to be near their Rebbe, or grand rabbi.
      US President Trump suggests that Israel annex 10% of Judea and Samaria.
      The sraeli newspaper Maariv reported that the Israeli army formed a Special Reserve Force, made up of local residents from the Nitzana neighbourhood - which lies adjacent to the Egyptian borders - in order to respond against attacks from the Islamic State group (IS) and confront the terrorist organization.
      And France 2 TV aired the joke by Laura Laune, 31, on Friday night in its 8 p.m. news journal. A winner of the 2017 season of the French counterpart of the America's Got Talent show, she was seen saying on stage: "What do sneakers and Jews have in common? They're more common in 39 than in 45."


      Couzin Gym's Thought for the Day: Isn't it strange that the same people who laugh at gypsy fortune tellers take economists seriously?


United States Air Force
Seal of the US Air Force.svg     
     
Inspections of the water wells around the former Reese Air Force Base in Texas began in November, according to a news release from the US Air Force. Murvat Musa, the executive director of the Lubbock Reese Redevelopment Authority, said the contamination does not apply to the parties were located on the former air base.
      US Air Force leaders have directed the implementation of a new warfighting planning process which aims to allow the Air Force to address future threats more efficiently. "The USAF needs to be able to innovate and operate faster and more effectively than its potential adversaries," the Air Force says.
      The SBIRS is a sophisticated satellite surveillance system designed to meet the current demand for early-warning technology to guard against missile attacks. SBIRS will replace the Defense Support Program that has provided missile warning technology for the US Air Force since 1970.
     
Two members of the 139th Airlift Wing, of the Missouri Air National Guard, recently returned from a special assignment down under, way down under.... in Antarctica assisting the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard on a resupply mission for the National Science Foundation's base.
      And Jimmy Donald Shepard, age 81, of Rome, Ga., passed away on Saturday in a local hospital. Shepard was born on Feb. 5, 1936 in Rome, Ga., son of the late C. Freemon Brannon and the late Velma Irene Powell Shepard Brannon. He was a proud graduate of Rome High School and a Rome High Hilltopper. He and his beloved wife, Frances, married on July 29, 1956. Prior to retirement in 1995, Shepard was associated as with General Electric for over 40 years. He had many passions, but flying was his favorite. He was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and private pilot from 1960 until the late 1990s. Some of his other passions were working on and cruising in cars, learning how things work and how to repair them, and mathematics. Shepard was an intelligent and self-taught man who could figure anything out, including putting a motorcycle together and the ins and outs of a computer. He loved family and enjoyed spending time with his family, as well as his church family.

US Coast Guard
WLB Elm204 2.jpg      
         USCGC Elm (WLB-204)
       With 25 ships in its fleet, Carnival Cruise Lines hosts federal sanitary inspectors on an almost weekly basis, and most of its ships get a clean bill of health. Yet the line finds itself in the unusual position of three ships having been graded "unsatisfactory" by the US Public Health Service.
       The Coast Guard rescued three people who had fallen into Lake Erie near East Harbor State Park yesterday. Three people were on an all-terrain vehicle on the lake when the ice cracked, sinking the vehicle, according to Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio.
       Friends are reeling after the body of a Burien, Wash., man was pulled from Puget Sound overnight by the US Coast Guard. The man's boat capsized just before 3 a.m., PT, yesterday morning near Three Tree Point in Burien. His friends identified him as 27-year-old Tyler Ingraham. Ingraham died but his female companion survived.
       USCGC Elm  (WLB-204) is heading to Baltimore, Md., this month for a major dry dock overhaul. Elm will make its final departure from its homeport in Atlantic Beach, N.C., this month to the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.
       Crews are working to contain an oil spill that has created a sheen spanning five miles of the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon. The Coast Guard says contract crews are working to pull up an old 20-foot- long tank that may be the potential source of an oil sheen.
       The US Coast Guard Band will present "Riffs for Lenny, Aaron, and George" at 2 p.m., ET, on Jan. 28th in the Leamy Concert Hall at the US Coast Guard Academy. Lt. Cmdr. Adam Williamson will lead the concert of music by Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and others.
       Firefighters from Groton, Conn., and a US Coast Guard crew responded to the scene. The cause of the accident is under investigation by police officers with the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Two people were killed when their boat capsized off the coast of Connecticut.
       The Coast Guard is searching for a 27-year-old man who fell in the water from a pier in San Diego, Calif. A Coast Guard statement late yesterday says San Diego Lifeguards contacted the Coast Guard around 6:30 p.m. to report they were searching for a man in the water, and the Coast Guard launched a Jayhawk helicopter to help.
       And officials say the Coast Guard was called in to rescue a sinking boat early this morning. Officials say they received a call about a boat taking on water at the boat landing on Wildlife Road, in Craven County, N.C., just before 2 a.m. today.

Homeland insecurity
Flag of the United States Department of Homeland Security.svg      
      
A woman notorious for stowing away on commercial airplanes made it past two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at O'’Hare International Airport in Chicago, then stayed overnight at the airport before sneaking onto a plane and flying to London last week, prosecutors said on Saturday.
Marilyn Hartman, 66, faces a felony theft charge in connection with flying to the United Kingdom on a British Airways jet without a $2,400 plane ticket and a misdemeanor trespass charge in connection with getting into the airport illegally. In a hearing Saturday afternoon, a judge ordered her released on her own recognizance, but ordered her to undergo psychiatric treatment and stay away from O'’Hare and any British Airways planes. Hartman also will be required to have an ankle monitor until the conclusion of her case. "There is no pun intended for your client, but she is a flight risk given the number of offenses,"” Judge Stephanie K. Miller said to Hartman'’s court-appointed attorney. Hartman said nothing during the hearing, but her lips curled into a smile after the judge granted her release. Hartman walked past two federal TSA pre-check agents who were checking boarding passes around 2 p.m., on Jan. 14th at O'Hare, prosecutors said Saturday. After entering a security checkpoint, she then went to a terminal and tried to board a plane to Connecticut, but as she tried to “dart around” another passenger in line, she was stopped by a flight agent and told to sit down, Assistant State’s Attorney Maria McCarthy told the court. Hartman got onto a shuttle bus to the International Terminal and slept there overnight, prosecutors said. The next day, Hartman managed to get past British Airways ticket agents and a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, and onto a plane, prosecutors said. She sat in an empty seat and flew to London'’s Heathrow Airport, but when she showed her documents to a British Customs agent, she was identified as someone who entered England without proper documentation, McCarthy said. Hartman, of Grayslake, northwest of Chicago, was flown back to O’'Hare, and the Chicago Police and other officials were waiting for her when she arrived, prosecutors said. She later admitted to boarding the London-bound flight without buying a ticket, McCarthy added. Hartman’'s movements through the airport were captured on high-definition surveillance video, according to authorities. The TSA is investigating how Hartman was able to get through security, a spokesman said in a statement on Friday. "This matter is subject to an ongoing investigation and TSA is working closely with our law enforcement and airline partners in that effort,”" according to the statement. “"During the initial investigation it was determined that the passenger was screened at the security checkpoint before boarding a flight. Upon learning of the incident TSA, and its aviation partners took immediate action to review security practices throughout the airport.”" This is Hartman’'s first arrest in Chicago since 2016, but she has a long history of trying to sneak onto airplanes. Hartman was given probation when she originally was sentenced after pleading guilty in a February 2016 trespassing charge, but she was sentenced to 364 days in jail a few weeks later, according to court records. She was credited for 23 days already served and could have spent less than six months in jail if given credit for good behavior, according to court records. At the time she was sentenced to jail, Hartman had been living at a mental health facility on the Near North Side before violating the terms of her probation by leaving the facility and going to O'’Hare. Hartman has been detained several times across the country for trying to bypass airport security. In a court filing after her arrest in July 2015 at O'Hare on trespass charges, Cook County prosecutors described Hartman as a "serial stowaway." She told NBC Ch. 5 in December 2015 that she "may have" boarded planes without a ticket eight times. Hartman also has three misdemeanor convictions for similar crimes in California, McCarthy said.
      
Immigrants entering the United States illegally through the southern border are quietly being relocated to different parts of the country on commercial flights, high-ranking Homeland Security officials told Judicial Watch this week. In the last few days alone, groups of illegal aliens boarded planes at airports in Texas and Arizona accompanied by a taxpayer-funded government escort in civilian clothes to avoid drawing attention. The first flight originated at Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Texas, and was bound for Minneapolis. The second left from Tucson International Airport and arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, federal sources said. In both locations the illegal aliens appeared to be in their late teens and were escorted by a Health and Human Services (HHS) chaperone. Judicial Watch reached out to HHS for comment but did not hear back from the agency. The illegal aliens wear red HHS wrist bands and receive "the gold glove treatment," according to a veteran federal official, who added that the undocumented immigrants get priority boarding ahead of all other passengers, including law enforcement personnel. "It is shameful and dangerous," said a seasoned Homeland Security agent with direct knowledge of the secret operations. Labor personnel from front-line Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies have complained about the cost and security risk of flying illegal alien minors to any destination of their choosing within the US, according to a longtime Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official present at the meetings. One of the closed-door meetings, late last year, included President Donald Trump and his chief of staff, John Kelly. It appears that the Trump administration has chosen to ignore the concerns of rank-and-file federal agents, instead opting to quietly extend the controversial Obama-era policy that relocates illegal immigrants to unsuspecting communities nationwide. It's known as "Catch and Release" and frustrated DHS sources tell Judicial Watch the Trump administration is essentially facilitating the ongoing commission of a federal immigration crime despite its tough border security rhetoric. In a recent newspaper article, Border Patrol agents in Texas say they’ve been ordered to release illegal immigrants caught entering through Mexico because there is no bed space at detention facilities. This has provoked a surge in illegal crossings, Border Patrol officials say, because there is no punishment to deter the lawbreakers. In the same news story, the head of the ICE officers’ union (Chris Crane) and the National Border Patrol Council (Brandon Judd) said detrimental old policies remain in place because Obama managers are still running their agencies. Crane, a veteran ICE agent, refers to the Obama holdovers as "incompetent, corrupt and anti-enforcement." Judd said word is getting back to Mexico and Central America that illegal border crossers will be released if caught, resulting in a huge increase in crossings. In a period of a few months, border crossings skyrocketed from 11,100 in a single month to 26,000, according to figures provided in the news story. Immigrants from Asia are also entering the US through Mexico, federal officials say. In San Diego, California agents apprehended dozens of illegal aliens from Asian countries in the last few months, including more than 60 from India. There was tremendous hope that Trump would finally put an end - as promised - to the dangerous Obama policies that released scores of illegal immigrants into different parts of the country. Judicial Watch has reported on it extensively and in 2016 exposed a covert DHS program that transported illegal immigrants from the Mexican border to Phoenix, Ariz., and released them without proper processing. The government classified them as "Other Than Mexican (OTM)" and transferred them 116 miles north from Tucson to a Phoenix bus station where they went their separate ways. The OTMs were from Honduras, Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala and a security company contracted by the US Government drove the OTMs from the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector where they were in custody to Phoenix. Outraged Border Patrol agents and supervisors on the front lines said the illegal aliens were released in droves because there was no room to keep them in detention. "They’re telling us to put them on a bus and let them go," one Arizona law enforcement official told Judicial Watch at the time. "Just move those bodies across the country." A year into the Trump administration, it seems that little has changed.
       Former Guatemalan presidential candidate Manuel Baldizon, who is wanted there on graft charges, has sought asylum in the United States after he was detained while trying to enter the country without a visa, authorities in the Central American nation said.
       And a doctor in New York State has been fired from his job in a child porn case. Federal officials said people who have specific information related to the case are urged to contact Homeland Security Investigations' Buffalo office at (716) 464-5931. The agency's victim-witness specialists will be available to assist any parent or guardian should they need victim-related resources.

Illinois police officer cleared in shooting case
       Washington Park, Illinois Police Officer Christopher Heatherly was off duty and had just picked up some dog food at the Walmart in Cahokia when a white sedan parked nearby caught his eye. Twice that day he had heard police radio calls about the car. Both times, officers had been left staring at its tail lights as the driver, Jason Stringer, outmaneuvered them and sped away. This time, Stringer didn'’t escape.    
       The chance encounter on Nov. 28, 2016, on the Walmart parking lot kicked off a series of events that led to Sringer's death at Officer Heatherly's hands, a five-month investigation into Heatherly'’s actions, and now questions as to whether he had the proper training to be a police officer in the first place. Heatherly says that Stringer left him no choice in the shooting, and investigators ultimately determined Heatherly was justified in firing at Stringer. But Stringer’'s family questions that finding. An ex-girlfriend and mother of his child says she believes the police just got sick of chasing him. Despite being cleared in the shooting, Officer Heatherly lost his job and faces hurdles in finding another in police work. A state board says he doesn’t have required qualifications to be a police officer, a situation he blames on bureaucracy and politics. He'’s hired an attorney to battle the state, and has been working private security jobs in the meantime.
       Stringer, who was wanted for multiple felonies, led police on chases at least five times in the two months leading up to his death. Almost every time, he had a different car, drove at more than 100 mph, and narrowly missed hitting pedestrians and other drivers, according to police reports. During one of those chases, Stringer rammed a police car that tried to box him in, according to police reports. A Washington Park police officer fired several shots at him, but no one was hit and Stringer escaped. While on duty on Nov. 28, 2016, Officer Heatherly had listened to scanner traffic as Stringer, in a white rental sedan, twice evaded the East St. Louis Police. At Walmart that night, off duty, Heatherly spotted the same white rental sedan. He pulled his car behind it, and called in to dispatchers. Surveillance footage shows Stringer drive toward Officer Heatherly. He says he feared for his life, and he fired three shots at Stringer, according to the Illinois State Police investigation into the shooting. About the same time, the car’'s turn signal comes on. Officer Heatherly says he believes Stringer bumped the turn signal when he tried to duck and avoid Heatherly’'s shots. Investigators determined two of Heatherly’'s .45-caliber bullets had lodged in the hood of the car - — their trajectories consistent with having been fired when the car was heading toward him. A third bullet struck Stringer in the shoulder, penetrating his right lung and lodging in his chest, according to an autopsy report. Still, Stringer tried to drive away. The surveillance cameras captured Stringer hitting a police SUV before pulling off the lot. Witnesses and other officers told investigators that Stringer narrowly missed pedestrians before crashing into a median about a mile away, off camera. When officers approached, he refused to show them his hands. A police dog bit him, and he finally surrendered, telling officers he had been shot, according to a police report. He was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour and a half after Officer Heatherly shot him.

                                                      

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