Defense

  • Four lion cubs that were orphaned during the war in Ukraine have arrived safely at a Minnesota animal sanctuary that has pledged to provide them a permanent home. A male cub named Taras and three females named Stefania, Lesya and Prada, who are all between four and five months old, spent the last three weeks at the Poznan Zoo in Poland. The International Fund for Animal Welfare says they were born at Ukrainian breeding facilities during the war and then orphaned at a few weeks old. It says their arrival Tuesday marked the final step in an arduous journey after they survived sporadic bombings and drone attacks. Their new home is The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, north of Minneapolis.

    November 30, 2022
  • Elegance Bratton is certainly not the first person to turn to the military to fill a hole in his life. But the filmmaker also knew he had a boot camp story that hadn’t been told…

    November 30, 2022
  • The European Union wants to set up a U.N.-backed specialized court to investigate possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday the EU will work with international partners to get “the broadest international support possible” for the tribunal while supporting the International Criminal Court. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, his military forces have been accused of abuses ranging from killings in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha to deadly attacks on civilian facilities, including the March 16 bombing of a theater in Mariupol that an Associated Press investigation established likely killed close to 600 people.

    November 30, 2022
  • Russian and Chinese strategic bombers have flown a joint patrol over the western Pacific in a show of increasingly close defense ties between the two countries. The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that Tu-95 bombers of the Russian air force and Chinese H-6K bombers flew over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea during an eight-hour mission. As part of the drills, the bombers for the first time landed in each other's country. The exercise follows a series of joint drills intended to showcase a growing military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing as they both face tensions with the United States.

    November 30, 2022
  • Hong Kong’s security minister has warned that the city’s protests against China’s anti-virus restrictions are a “rudiment of another color revolution” and urged residents not to participate in activities that might hurt national security. Chris Tang said some events on university campuses and the city’s streets had attempted to incite others to target China’s central government in the name of commemorating a deadly fire in the country’s far west last week. Protests erupted in major mainland cities over the weekend after the blaze that killed at least 10 in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, prompted angry questions about COVID restrictions. The rallies in Hong Kong were the biggest in more than a year under rules imposed by Beijing to crush a pro-democracy movement.

    November 30, 2022
  • The Democratic San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to allow police to use potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations. The vote Tuesday was 8 to 3. Civil rights advocates opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to further militarization of police. The San Francisco Police Department said it would like the option to deploy robots equipped with explosive charges to disable suspects when lives are at stake. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is divided on support for law enforcement. A new state law requires police and sheriffs departments to inventory its military grade equipment and seek approval for their use.

    November 29, 2022
  • Colombia wants the Biden administration to grant temporary legal status to its citizens now living in the United States, noting its own efforts to address regional migration by hosting 2 million Venezuelans who fled their homes. Colombia's ambassador to the United States says the new president, Gustavo Petro, is committed to his predecessor's generous policies toward Venezuelans but needs help. In a letter to U.S. officials released Tuesday, Ambassador Luis Alberto Murillo Urrutia asked President Joe Biden to grant Colombians already in the U.S. a form of temporary status called Deferred Enforced Departure.

    November 29, 2022
  • Mexico’s Supreme Court has upheld a constitutional change that allows the military to continue in law enforcement duties until 2028. Tuesday's ruling rejected appeals that argued law enforcement should be left to civilian police forces. Critics warns that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is militarizing the country. Eight of the court’s 11 justices voted to uphold the constitutional changes that Congress approved in October. Putting soldiers and marines on the streets to fight crime was long viewed as a stopgap measure to fight drug gang violence. In 2019, legislators voted that civilian police should take over those duties by 2024.

    November 29, 2022
  • A lawsuit against the maker of an anti-malarial drug blamed for causing psychotic and neurological damage in U.S. servicemembers has been thrown out. U.S. District Court Judge Trina Thompson ruled late Monday that the lawsuit doesn't belong in a California court. An Army veteran said Roche Laboratories Inc. and Genentech Inc. intentionally misled the Department of Defense and the Food and Drug Administration about the dangers of mefloquine, the generic version of the drug Lariam. The U.S. military gave the drug to hundreds of thousands of troops sent to Afghanistan and Somalia. The Pentagon eventually replaced the drug with safer alternatives.

    November 29, 2022
  • The Supreme Court is wrestling with a politically tinged dispute over a Biden administration policy that would prioritize deportation of people in the country illegally who pose the greatest public safety risk. It was not clear after arguments that turned highly contentious at times Tuesday whether the justices would allow the policy to take effect, or side with Republican-led states that have so far succeeded in blocking it. At the center of the case is a September 2021 directive from the Department of Homeland Security that paused deportations unless individuals had committed acts of terrorism, espionage or “egregious threats to public safety.” The guidance, issued after Joe Biden became president, replaced a Trump-era policy that emphasized deportation.

    November 29, 2022
  • A senior Russian diplomat says Moscow has postponed a round of nuclear arms control talks with the United States set for this week because of stark differences in approach and tensions over Ukraine. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the decision to put off the talks that had been scheduled to start Tuesday in Cairo was made at the political level. Ryabkov claimed the U.S. had stonewalled Russia’s request to discuss specifics related to the weapons count under the New START treaty. The timing of the talks was intended to show that Russia and the U.S. remain committed to arms control and keeping lines of communication open despite soaring tensions over Ukraine.

    November 29, 2022
  • U.S. and Kurdish military officials say Turkish airstrikes and a threatened ground invasion in northern Syria are impacting their joint operations against the Islamic State extremist group. Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeast Syria, tells reporters that the group’s joint counter-IS operations alongside the U.S.-led international coalition have been “temporarily paused” because of the recent Turkish airstrikes, and that gains made in the fight against the extremist group to date may be “threatened.” Pentagon spokesman Air Force Gen. Patrick Ryder says the U.S. has cut back on the number of “partnered patrols” it is carrying out alongside the SDF.

    November 29, 2022
  • Pakistan’s new military chief has taken command of the country's armed forces. The army has historically wielded huge influence in Pakistan, ruling it for half of the country's 75-year history. Asim Munir, a former spymaster, takes charge amid a government standoff with former prime minister Imran Khan and the end of a monthslong cease-fire between the government and the Pakistani Taliban. Khan wants the new military leadership to play a role in ending the political turmoil and the Pakistani Taliban have ordered its fighters to resume their attacks across the country. Munir on Tuesday replaced Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa at a ceremony in Rawalpindi, near the capital.

    November 29, 2022
  • A new Pentagon report warns that China continues to rapidly modernize its nuclear force and is on track to have 1,500 active warheads by 2035. China has already stated its goal to have a military powerful enough to be able to take Taiwan by force, if necessary. China has cautioned the U.S. against coming to Taiwan's defense. Last year, the Pentagon said the number of Chinese nuclear warheads could increase to 700 within six years and may top 1,000 by 2030. The new report says China currently has about 400 nuclear warheads, and that number could grow to 1,500 by 2035. The United States, by comparison, has 3,750 active nuclear warheads.

    November 29, 2022