A Chinese coast guard ship came within a meter (3 feet) of colliding with a Philippine patrol ship it was trying to block in the South China Sea, in an alarming incident that intensified fears that territorial disputes in the waters could spark a larger crisis. The Philippines on Friday strongly condemned the Chinese ship’s maneuvers near Second Thomas Shoal, which the Asian neighbors both claim and has been the scene of frequent confrontations. One other Philippine coast guard vessel was blocked by Chinese coast guard and militia ships in the incident, which dragged on for about eight hours. A major clash in the disputed waters could potentially involve the United States, which has vowed to defend the Philippines if its forces, ships and aircraft come under armed attack.
The Pentagon says the U.S. military shot down an armed Turkish drone that came within 500 meters of American troops in northeastern Syria. It was a rare use of force by one NATO member against another. Air Force Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, called it a “regrettable incident” and said U.S. troops were forced to go to bunkers for safety as Turkey bombed targets nearby. He says U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Turkish counterpart about the incident Thursday and underscored the importance of close coordination between their two countries to prevent risks to U.S. forces or to the mission to defeat Islamic State militants in the region.
Two Philippine supply boats have breached a Chinese coast guard blockade in the South China Sea in a recurring confrontation near a disputed shoal some fear could spark a larger security crisis that could draw in the United States. Two Philippine coast guard ships escorted the smaller supply boats on Wednesday. But it wasn't immediately clear whether the ships were blocked by the Chinese coast guard from coming closer to the Second Thomas Shoal. A small contingent of Filipino marines has stood guard there for years aboard a long-marooned but still actively commissioned warship. China also claims the shoal and has surrounded it with its coast guard ships and militia vessels in a years-long standoff.
Pakistan’s military says a Taliban guard opened fire at civilians at a border crossing with Afghanistan, killing two people, including a 12-year-old boy. Another child was wounded in the shooting on Wednesday at the Chaman border crossing in Pakistan's Baluchistan province. The military said in a statement that Pakistani troops “exercised extreme restraint" to avoid more casualties in the shooting. The army did not say anything on the Afghan Taliban guard's possible motives for opening fire. There was no immediate comment from Afghanistan's Taliban government. On Tuesday, Pakistan announced a major crackdown on migrants who are in the country illegally, many of them from Afghanistan, and said it would expel them starting next month.
Russia says its air defenses shot down 31 Ukrainian drones in a nighttime attack on border regions. The Russian Defense Ministry reported the attack Wednesday. It appears to be Kyiv’s largest single cross-border drone assault reported by Moscow since the Kremlin launched its invasion 20 months ago. The Defense Ministry did not provide any evidence for its claims nor any details about whether there were any damage or casualties. It also said Russian aircraft thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to deploy a group of soldiers by sea to the western side of Russian-annexed Crimea. Ukraine is pressing on with a slow-moving counteroffensive it launched three months ago.
A guerrilla group in Myanmar has claimed responsibility for a fatal shooting this week of a businessman accused of being an arms dealer for Myanmar’s military. It’s the latest assassination carried out by militants opposed to military rule. Witnesses say that gunmen fatally shot Nyan Lwin Aung while he was eating at a street food stall in downtown Yangon late Monday. The guerrilla group Urban Owls claims responsibility. That and other similar groups have carried out frequent targeted killings and small bombings in recent months in the country’s cities. The targets typically are people believed to be informers or collaborators with the military.
Lawyers for Pakistan’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan are opposing his closed-door trial in a case in which he is accused of revealing state secrets after his 2022 ouster, saying it’s aimed at convicting the popular opposition leader quickly. The case is related to Khan's speech and waiving of a confidential diplomatic letter to a rally after his ouster in a no-confidence vote in parliament in 2022. At the time Khan showed a document as a proof that he was threatened and his ouster was a conspiracy by Washington. He accused the military and then-Premier Shehbaz Sharif of implementing a U.S. plot, a charge denied by U.S. officials, the Pakistani military and Sharif. Khan is currently facing more than 150 cases.
A lawyer for a former U.S. military pilot accused of illegally training Chinese aviators has told a Sydney court that an extradition hearing scheduled for next month should be postponed due to delays in government agencies handing over crucial material. Boston-born Dan Duggan was arrested by Australian police a year ago near his home in New South Wales state and is fighting extradition to the United States. His lawyer told the court on Wednesday that the former U.S. Marine Corps flying instructor will apply to have the Nov. 23 extradition hearing delayed. A magistrate will hear submissions on the postponement application later this month.
Colombia’s government has issued a long awaited public apology for the extrajudicial killings of 19 civilians who were slain by the military and registered as rebel fighters during one of the most violent periods of the nation’s civil war. The apology comes as Colombia’s government attempts to make amends with communities affected by decades of armed conflict and broker peace deals with rebel groups that are still fighting the military in rural areas despite a 2016 peace deal between the government and the nation’s largest rebel group. The killings took place between 2004 and 2008 as Colombia’s military intensified its campaign against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
North Korea has slammed the United States over a Pentagon report that labeled it a “persistent" threat because of weapons of mass destruction, saying it will strongly counter what it called U.S. plans for aggression. Last week, the Pentagon released the unclassified version of its “2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction," which describes China, Russia, North Korea and Iran as security threats and challenges. North Korea's Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the U.S. has revealed its intention to violate North Korea's sovereignty and security. The development comes as concerns grow that North Korea is pushing for a banned weapons transfer deal with Russia.
Two U.S. Army soldiers are dead and 12 others injured after the military transport vehicle in which they were riding flipped on a dirt road in Alaska. Army officials say the accident happened Monday as the soldiers headed to the Yukon Training Area just south of Fairbanks. Army spokesperson John Pennell tells The Associated Press the driver lost control of the large transport vehicle and it flipped. First responders extracted soldiers from the vehicle. The 12 injured soldiers were taken to a Fairbanks hospital. The two most seriously injured were flown to Anchorage for treatment. The names of the two soldiers killed have not been released.
The president-elect of the Maldives says he's sticking to his campaign promise to remove Indian military personnel stationed in the archipelago state, promising he will initiate the process. On Monday night, Mohamed Muiz told supporters gathered at a celebration of his election victory that he won’t stand for a foreign military staying in the Maldives against the will of its citizens. He said they can and will be removed through diplomatic means. It's a serious blow to India in its geopolitical rivalry with China in the India Ocean region. The Maldives presidential runoff election Saturday was seen as a virtual referendum on which of the regional powers will have the biggest influence. Muiz’s party is viewed as heavily pro-China.
A Congolese military court has sentenced a colonel to death after soldiers fired upon a crowd of protesters earlier this year. More than 50 people died in the town of Goma in August when a sect known as Wazalendo organized a demonstration against the U.N. peacekeeping mission. On Monday, a military court handed down the death sentence to Col. Mike Mikombe, former commander of the Republican Guard in Goma, in the east of the country. Another colonel who headed the Congolese armed forces regiment in Goma at the time was acquitted. Three other soldiers were sentenced to 10 years in prison.
When U.S. lawmakers approved a spending bill Saturday that averted a widely expected government shutdown, the measure didn’t include the $6 billion in military assistance that Ukraine said it urgently needed. Now the Pentagon, White House and European allies are urging Congress to quickly reconsider. They warn that if the U.S. stops sending ammunition, spare parts and air defenses Ukraine will be at risk of losing ground in its counteroffensive. They argue that if Russia’s invasion is not stopped in Ukraine, other nations — including NATO allies — could be endangered. The gridlock comes as top Pentagon leaders prepare to meet next week with allies in Brussels where Ukraine is likely to be a hot topic.