China ‘likely’ training pilots to target US, Pentagon report says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

China ‘likely’ training pilots to target US, Pentagon report says

Washington (CNN)China is actively developing its fleet of long-range bombers and “likely” training its pilots for missions targeting the US, according to a new Pentagon report.

“Over the last three years, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets,” the report said.
The “Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” is a US government report mandated by Congress, which details Chinese military developments over the previous year.
This year’s report also claims that China is pursuing a nuclear capability on its long-range bombers, saying the Chinese air force “has been re-assigned a nuclear mission.”
“The deployment and integration of nuclear capable bombers would, for the first time, provide China with a nuclear ‘triad’ of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea, and air,” the report said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has made no secret of his desire to modernize China’s armed forces, including weeding out widespread corruption in the ranks and updating the country’s military hardware.
As Thursday’s report notes, the PLA is undergoing “the most comprehensive restructure in its history to become a force capable of fighting joint operations.”
The United States released a new Defense Strategy at the beginning of 2018 where it proclaimed “long-term strategic competitions with China” as one of the US military’s top challenges.
According to Thursday’s report, China is working on a “stealthy, long-range strategic bomber with a nuclear delivery capability that could be operational within the next 10 years,” in addition to the bombers it already operates.
In a show of the expanding reach of Beijing’s power, the Chinese military landed nuclear-capable H-6K bombers on one of their artificial islands in the South China Sea for the first time in May.
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US Navy plane warned over South China Sea 03:02

Cold War mentality

This year’s report comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China, amid an escalating trade war and disagreements over Beijing’s actions in Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Even before the new report’s release, Washington was feeling the full brunt of the Chinese military’s fury over a new $717 billion US defense bill which encourages closer cooperation with Taiwan to counter Beijing.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesman Wu Qian said the United States was”full of Cold War mentality.”
“A man cannot prosper without honesty, the same is true for a country,” Wu said. “We urge the US to stick to its promises to China regarding Taiwan question, and uphold the one-China policy.”
The new US report released on Thursday said China was deploying “increasingly advance military capabilities intended to coerce Taiwan” in a bid to prevent the island from declaring independence.
Despite Taiwan being self-governed for almost 70 years, the mainland Chinese government continues to view the island as an integral part of its territory.
The US report didn’t just highlight threats to the United States or its allies — there was also a broader discussion of the spread of Chinese influence around the world.
The document notes China has established its first overseas base in Djibouti and that it “will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries.”
China formally established its Djibouti military base in July last year, followed several months later by the country’s controversial acquisition of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.
Around the time of the Djbouti base opening, an editorial in the state-run Global Times stressed its importance to Beijing’s plans. “Certainly this is the People’s Liberation Army’s first overseas base and we will base troops there. It’s not a commercial resupply point… This base can support Chinese Navy to go farther, so it means a lot,” said the paper.
The Pentagon report said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature infrastructure policy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), served to encourage countries to fall into line with China’s ambitions.
“China intends to use the BRI to develop strong economic ties with other countries, shape their interests to align with China’s, and deter confrontation or criticism of China’s approach to sensitive issues,” the report said.
China also continues to develop counterspace capabilities, “including kinetic-kill missiles, ground-based lasers and orbiting space robots,” the report saida time when US President Donald Trump plans to establish a Space Force by 2020 to protect US assets in space.
Beijing is also working “to expand space surveillance capabilities that can monitor objects across the globe and in space and enable counterspace actions.”

Architect of bin Laden raid issues stunning rebuke of Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Architect of bin Laden raid issues stunning rebuke of Trump

Washington (CNN)Retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, issued a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday, defending the former spy chief as “one of the finest public servants I have ever known.”

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post, McRaven, a former Navy SEAL who led US Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, not only called Brennan “a man of unparalleled integrity,” but volunteered to have his own security clearance revoked in an act of solidarity.
“Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him,” McRaven wrote.
“Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency,” he added.
His comments come just one day after Trump announced his decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance, marking an unprecedented use of a president’s authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics.
“This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent,” Brennan tweeted after the announcement.
McRaven, who resigned as chancellor of the University of Texas in Austin earlier this year, is widely respected among the tens of thousands of active and retired special operators and his message will likely resonate within that community.
“Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” McRaven said of Trump.
“If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be,” he added.

CNN’s Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY IF CNN)

 

CNN’s Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

Remembering the life of Anthony Bourdain

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Remembering the life of Anthony Bourdain

Remembering the life of Anthony Bourdain 02:18
Programming note: CNN will air “Remembering Anthony Bourdain,” a special report on the life and legacy of the chef, storyteller and writer, tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

New York (CNN)Anthony Bourdain, the gifted chef, storyteller and writer who took TV viewers around the world to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition for nearly two decades, has died. He was 61.

CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.
Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series, “Parts Unknown.” His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.
Anthony Bourdain on January 4, 2017, in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Asking for help

The suicide rate in the United States has seen sharp increases in recent years. Studies have shown that the risk of suicide declines sharply when people call the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.

There is also a crisis text line. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.

The lines are staffed by a mix of paid professionals and unpaid volunteers trained in crisis and suicide intervention. The confidential environment, the 24-hour accessibility, a caller’s ability to hang up at any time and the person-centered care have helped its success, advocates say.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement Friday morning. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller.
“His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
Bourdain joined CNN five years ago. In an email to employees, the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, remembered him as an “exceptional talent.”
“Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it,” Zucker wrote.
Viewers around the world felt connected to Bourdain through his fearless travels, his restless spirit and his magical way with words. Fans, fellow chefs, celebrities and friends reacted to his death with stunned sorrow.
“My heart breaks for Tony Bourdain,” CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, wrote on Twitter. “May he rest in peace now.”
President Donald Trump extended his condolences to Bourdain’s family on Friday morning. “I enjoyed his show,” Trump said. “He was quite a character.”
Former President Barack Obama recalled a meal he shared with Bourdain in Vietnam while Obama was on a trip through Asia in 2016 — an encounter captured in a “Parts Unknown” episode that year.
“‘Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.’ This is how I’ll remember Tony,” Obama posted to Twitter on Friday. “He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.”
For the past year, Bourdain had been dating Italian actress Asia Argento. She remembered Bourdain as someone who “gave all of himself in everything that he did.”
Last year he advocated for Argento as she went public with accusations against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. “He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated.”
Bourdain’s death came days after fashion designer Kate Spade died in an apparent suicide Tuesday at her Manhattan apartment.
Suicide is a growing problem in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday showing suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.

‘The Elvis of bad boy chefs’

Bourdain was a master of his crafts — first in the kitchen and then in the media. Through his TV shows and books, he helped audiences think differently about food, travel and themselves. He advocated for marginalized populations and campaigned for safer working conditions for restaurant staffs.
Along the way, he received practically every award the industry has to offer.
In 2013, Peabody Award judges honored Bourdain and “Parts Unknown” for “expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure.”
“He’s irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious,” the judges said. “People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
The Smithsonian once called him “the original rock star” of the culinary world, “the Elvis of bad boy chefs.” His shows took him to more than 100 countries and three networks.
While accepting the Peabody award in 2013, Bourdain described how he approached his work.
“We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions,” he said, “we tend to get some really astonishing answers.”
Friends and acquaintances on Friday remembered Bourdain’s curiosity for the world’s variety of cultures and cuisine rubbing off on them. They included author and humorist John Hodgman, who recalled eating with Bourdain some 14 years ago.
“He was big even then, but he took time to sit with me in Chinatown to talk ‘weird’ food for a magazine piece I was writing. He taught me that our ‘weird’ is the world’s delicious,” Hodgman wrote on Twitter. “We ate chicken feet. The afternoon vibrated with life. RIP.”
Chef Gordon Ramsay said Bourdain “brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food.”

From ‘happy dishwasher’ to addiction to fame

Bourdain grew up in Leonia, New Jersey, and started working in kitchens in his teens — including on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod during the summer.
“I was a happy dishwasher,” he said in a 2016 interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” “I jokingly say that I learned every important lesson, all the most important lessons of my life, as a dishwasher.”
It was during those early jobs, he said, that he began using drugs, eventually developing a heroin addiction and other problems that he later said should have killed him in his 20s. He often talked of his addiction later in life.
“Somebody who wakes up in the morning and their first order of business is (to) get heroin — I know what that’s like,” Bourdain said in a 2014 “Parts Unknown” episode highlighting an opioid crisis in Massachusetts.
After spending two years at New York’s Vassar College, he dropped out and enrolled in culinary school. He spent years as a line cook and sous chef at restaurants in the Northeast before becoming executive chef at Manhattan’s Brasseries Les Halles.
But it was his writing that put him on the map in his early 40s.
Bourdain drew widespread public attention with his 1999 New Yorker article, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” about the secrets of kitchen life and shady characters he encountered along the way.
“In America, the professional kitchen is the last refuge of the misfit. It’s a place for people with bad pasts to find a new family,” he wrote.
Anthony Bourdain on pushing boundaries

Anthony Bourdain on pushing boundaries 00:36
The article morphed into a best-selling book in 2000, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” which was translated into more than two dozen languages.
“When the book came out, it very quickly transformed my life — I mean, changed everything,” he told NPR.
Bourdain found himself on a path to international stardom. First, he hosted “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network, then moved to the Travel Channel with “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” a breakout hit that earned two Emmy Awards and more than a dozen nominations.
In 2013, both Bourdain and CNN took a risk by bringing him to a network still best known for breaking news and headlines. Bourdain quickly became one of its principal faces and a linchpin of its prime-time schedule.
Season 11 of “Parts Unknown” premiered last month on CNN, with destinations including Uruguay, Armenia and West Virginia.
The 'insanely good' food of Hong Kong

The ‘insanely good’ food of Hong Kong 01:09
In his final weeks, Bourdain said he was especially looking forward to an episode about Hong Kong, which aired Sunday.
He called it a “dream show” in which he linked up with longtime Hong Kong resident and cinematographer Christopher Doyle.
“The idea was just to interview him and maybe get him to hold a camera. He ended up being director of photography for the entire episode,” Bourdain told CNN in April. “For me it was like asking Joe DiMaggio to, you know, sign my baseball and instead he joined my Little League team for the whole season.”
The show’s website on Friday posted an homage to Bourdain featuring one of his many oft-repeated quotations — one that seemed to embody his philosophy: “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.”
How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

Mike Pence Just Gave The Criminal: Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio A Boost In Arizona

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Mike Pence just gave Joe Arpaio a boost in Arizona — and it could lead to disaster for Senate Republicans

Washington (CNN)On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence was in Tempe, Arizona, to headline an event for the pro-Trump outside group America First Policies. (That group has its own problems.) In his speech, Pence singled out former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for praise.

“A great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law,” Pence said. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I’m honored to have you here.”
There are a few things wrong with that statement by Pence.
First, the idea that Arpaio is a “tireless champion … (of) the rule of law” is provably false.
In 2011, a federal judge ordered Arpaio to stop stopping anyone who was not directly suspected of having committed a state or federal crime. (The lawsuit came as the result of the 2007 detention of a Mexican man who had a tourist visa.) Arpaio never acknowledged that order and continued on enforcing his own brand of immigration policy. He was found guilty of criminal contempt and was scheduled to be sentenced last fall — just as President Donald Trump stepped in and pardoned the controversial sheriff.
So, no, he is not a champion for the rule of law. He is a champion for the law as he decides it to be. Which is not the same thing.
Then there is the political dumbness of Pence’s praise of Arpaio.
At the moment, Arpaio is one of three major candidates running for the Republican Senate nomination on August 28. (The seat is open due to GOP Sen. Jeff Flake’s retirement.) Arpaio is widely regarded as the weakest of the three candidates — and someone who would begin well behind likely Democratic nominee Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
The limited polling in the Republican primary shows Rep. Martha McSally with a clear edge but former state legislator Kelli Ward and Arpaio are still very much in contention.
An endorsement like the one Pence gave Arpaio in Tempe on Tuesday is just the sort of thing the 85-year-old former sheriff needs to build some momentum. If he is smart, he will put that Pence line of praise in every single TV and radio ad he runs between now and the end of August.
While Trump (and, by extension, Pence) are not super popular in the whole of Arizona, the President and his vice president remain very popular figures within the Republican primary electorate. If Arpaio can position himself as the Trump candidate — and the President has praised him, too — it could give the controversial sheriff a real chance at the nomination.
Which would be a disaster for Republicans clinging to a one-seat margin in the Senate. Arizona is one of only three GOP-held seats the party has to defend this November — and it can’t afford to lose it before the general election even starts.
Mike Pence knows all of that. Which makes his praise of Arpaio all the more baffling.