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09 Dec

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09 Dec

Your Tax Dollars Help Starve Children

Opinion Your Tax Dollars Help Starve Children

By Nicholas Kristof

The McGlynn, A Few Thoughts

This article should be required reading for every single American preoccupied with partisan politics or prepping for Christmas.

The phrase “royal family”? BULLSHIT! If they are “royal”, then I am a saint. If anybody wants to take over the whole peninsula, it is the Saudi royal family. We need to be on the side of Yemen here, not with the Saudis.

There is no mention of the physical pain that accompanies starvation. These children are being tortured both physically and mentally. The pain itself evolves into a constant hollowing, twisting, wrenching emptiness within one’s core. There is no escape. The slow draining of energy, viability and hope are mentally torturous, especially for the mind of a child who has no understanding of true, unmitigated cruelty. Torturing thousands upon thousands of innocent children is a crime against humanity straight out of our human hell on earth. Shame on us.

A major problem is that our Country, as a whole including our Government, do not give a damn.  We have been indoctrinated for decades by Republicans to feel outraged when “taxpayers” are asked to fund school lunches for children who might otherwise go hungry right here in our own communities. I have read commenters moralize that parents should pack a lunch for their own children and pontificate more universally that if parents can’t take of children they shouldn’t have them.

Further we won’t commit to the principle that health care is a right for our own citizens. So I don’t expect us collectively to show any more compassion for children who are need in of medical care and so painfully and desperately starving when those children are thousands of miles away and, let’s just say it, not white.

The ideology of whiteness and selfishness is what the Trump The Dump administration thrives on. It may even be true that a majority of our citizens resist this creeping corruption of the spirit and still have a different set of beliefs that make us want to help. But we are ruled by an abhorrent minority and can no longer make our will known—or rather, when it’s known, this minority will simply disregard what’s right in favor of what’s profitable for them. We can only hope that this powerful majority will move a few rich and powerful individuals to advocate for this cause.

But I would not bet on it. Pathetic.

The McGlynn

Yaqoob Walid, 8, who is suffering from malnutrition that is so prolonged it may prove fatal, has been in the hospital for more than a month.Giles Clarke for The New York Times

ADEN, Yemen — He is an 8-year-old boy who is starving and has limbs like sticks, but Yaqoob Walid doesn’t cry or complain. He gazes stolidly ahead, tuning out everything, for in late stages of starvation the human body focuses every calorie simply on keeping the organs functioning.

Yaqoob arrived unconscious at Al Sadaqa Hospital here, weighing just over 30 pounds. He has suffered complications, and doctors say that it is unclear he will survive and that if he does he may suffer permanent brain damage.

Some 85,000 children may have already died here in Yemen, and 12 million more people may be on the brink of starvation, casualties in part of the three-year-old American-backed Saudi war in Yemen. United Nations officials and aid experts warn that this could become the worst famine the world has seen in a generation.

“The risk of a major catastrophe is very high,” Mark Lowcock, the United Nations humanitarian chief, told me. “In the worst case, what we have in Yemen now has the potential to be worse than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives.”

Both the Obama and Trump administrations have supported the Saudi war in Yemen with a military partnership, arms sales, intelligence sharing and until recently air-to-air refueling. The United States is thus complicit in what some human rights experts believe are war crimes.

The bottom line: Our tax dollars are going to starve children.

A block in the area known as Kraytar, in the Yemeni city of Aden, was destroyed by coalition airstrikes in mid-2015. CreditGiles Clarke for The New York Times

A block in the area known as Kraytar, in the Yemeni city of Aden, was destroyed by coalition airstrikes in mid-2015. CreditGiles Clarke for The New York Times

I fell in love with Yemen’s beauty and friendliness on my first visit, in 2002, but this enchanting country is now in convulsions. When people hear an airplane today in much of Yemen, they flinch and wonder if they are about to be bombed, and I had interviews interrupted by automatic weapons fire overhead.

After witnessing the human toll and interviewing officials on both sides, including the president of the Houthi rebels who control much of Yemen, I find the American and Saudi role in this conflict to be unconscionable. The Houthis are repressive and untrustworthy, but this is not a reason to bomb and starve Yemeni children.

What is most infuriating is that the hunger is caused not by drought or extreme weather, but by cynical and failed policies in Riyadh and Washington. The starvation does not seem to be an accidental byproduct of war, but rather a weapon in it. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, backed by the United States, are trying to inflict pain to gain leverage over and destabilize the Houthi rebels. The reason: The Houthis are allied with Iran.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States don’t want you to see pictures like Yaqoob’s or reflect on the suffering in Yemen. The Saudis impose a partial blockade on Houthi areas, banning commercial flights and barring journalists from special United Nations planes there. I’ve been trying for more than two years to get through the Saudi blockade, and I finally was able to by tagging onto Lowcock’s United Nations delegation.

Yaqoob Walid.CreditGiles Clarke for The New York Times

After a major famine, there is always soul-searching about how the world could have allowed this to happen. What’s needed this time is not soul-searching a few years from now, but action today to end the war and prevent a cataclysm.

The problem in Yemen is not so much a shortage of food as it is an economic collapse — GDP has fallen in half since the war started — that has left people unable to afford food.

Yaqoob was especially vulnerable. He is the second of eight children in a poor household with a father who has mental health problems and can’t work steadily. Moreover, the father, like many Yemenis, chews qat — a narcotic leaf that is very widely used in Yemen and offers an easy high. This consumes about $1 a day, reducing the budget available for food. The family sold some land to pay for Yaqoob’s care, so its situation is now even more precarious.

A few rooms down from Yaqoob was Fawaz Abdullah, 18 months old, his skin mottled and discolored with sores. Fawaz is so malnourished that he has never been able to walk or say more than “Ma” or “Ba.”

Fawaz’s mother, Ruqaya Saleh, explained that life fell apart after her home in the port city of Hudaydah was destroyed by a bomb (probably an American one, as many are). Her family fled to Aden, and her husband is struggling to find occasional work as a day laborer.

“I used to be able to buy whatever I wanted, including meat and fish,” she told me. Since fleeing, she said, war-induced poverty has meant that she hasn’t been able to buy a single fish or egg — and that is why Fawaz suffers severe protein deficiency.

“They asked me to buy milk for Fawaz, but we can’t afford it now,” she said.

We think of war casualties as men with their legs blown off. But in Yemen the most common war casualties are children like Fawaz who suffer malnutrition.

Some will die. Even the survivors may suffer lifelong brain damage. A majority of Yemen children are now believed to be physically stunted from malnutrition (46 percent were stunted even before the war), and physical stunting is frequently accompanied by diminished brain development.

A Yemeni child suffering from malnutrition being weighed at a treatment center in a hospital in Sana.CreditMohammed Huwais/AFP-Services, for The New York Times

“These children are the future of Yemen,” Dr. Aida Hussein, a nutrition specialist, told me, looking at Fawaz. “He will be stunted. How will he do in school?”

The war and lack of health care facilities have also led to outbreaks of deadly diseases like diphtheria and cholera. Half of the country’s clinics and hospitals are closed.

In the capital, Sana, I met a child who was suffering both malnutrition and cholera. The boy was Saddam Hussein (he was named for the Iraqi leader), eight years old, and the parents repeat the mantra I hear from everyone: Life is much worse now because of the war.

“We don’t know what we will eat tomorrow,” Saddam’s mother told me.

Yemen began to disintegrate in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and then the Houthis, a traditional clan in the north, swept down on Sana and seized much of the country. The Houthis follow Zaydi Islam, which is related to the Shiite branch dominant in Iran, and the Saudis and some Americans see them as Iranian stooges.

In some ways, the Houthis have been successful. They have imposed order and crushed Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in the parts of Yemen they control, and in Sana I felt secure and didn’t fear kidnapping.

However, the Houthis operate a police state and are hostile to uncovered women, gays and anyone bold enough to criticize them. They recruit child soldiers from the age of about 12 (the Saudi- and American-backed forces wait until boys are about 15), interfere with food aid, and have engaged in torture and attacks on civilians.

Fawaz Abdullah, 18 months old and suffering from severe malnutrition, carried by his mother.CreditGiles Clarke for The New York Times

Still, the civilian loss of life has overwhelmingly been caused not by the Houthis but by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and America, through both bombings and starvation. It’s ridiculous for the Trump administration to be exploring naming the Houthis a terrorist organization. And while the Houthis are allies of Iran, I think the Saudis exaggerate when they suggest that the Houthis are Iranian pawns.

The foreign minister on the Houthi side is Hisham Sharaf Abdalla, a congenial American-educated official.

“I love the U.S.,” Mr. Sharaf told me. “We look to the U.S. as the only force that can stop this war.”

Peace talks are now beginning in Sweden — few people expect them to solve the crisis soon — and he insisted that his side was eager to reach a peace deal and improve relations with America.

After our conversation, he brought me over to his desk and showed me his assault rifle and two handguns. “When I was in the U.S., I was a member of the N.R.A.,” he told me. “I would like to have an N.R.A. chapter in Yemen.”

Mr. Sharaf talks a good game but is not himself a Houthi, just an ally, so I wondered if he was a figurehead trotted out to impress foreigners. Later I interviewed a man whose power is unquestioned: Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, the president of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee. As his name signifies, he is a member of the Houthi clan.

An aide picked me up and ferried me to him, for President Houthi changes locations daily to avoid being bombed by the Saudis.

President Houthi, a large, confident man with a traditional dagger at his belly, was friendly to me but also suspicious of the United States and full of conspiracy theories. He suggested that Washington was secretly arming Al Qaeda and that the United States was calling the shots for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, at the behest of Israel.

Still, he said that he wanted peace and that although the Houthis have fired missiles at Saudi Arabia, his side would pose no threat to Saudi Arabia if the Saudis would only end their assault on Yemen.

“There’s no need for enmity with the United States,” he told me in Arabic, and that seemed a message he wanted me to convey to Washington and the American people.

I asked President Houthi about the sarkha, the group’s slogan: “God is great! Death to America! Death to Israel! Curses on the Jews! Victory to Islam!” That didn’t seem so friendly, I said.

“It’s nothing against the American people,” he replied. “It’s directed toward the system.”

When I asked about Saudi and American suggestions that the Houthis are Iranian pawns, he laughed.

“That’s just propaganda,” he said. “I ask you: Have you ever seen one Iranian in Yemen? Do we speak Farsi?” This was all a trick, he said, analogous to the allegations of weapons of mass destruction used to justify war with Iraq.

While the Houthis are called “rebels,” they clearly rule their territory. In contrast, the Saudi- and American-backed “internationally recognized government” of Yemen is a shell that controls almost no territory — hence it is based in Riyadh. The “president” of this exile government, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, is said to be gravely ill, and when he is gone it will be even more difficult to sustain the fiction that this is a real government.

More broadly, I don’t see any hint of a Saudi or American strategy. There’s little sign that bombing and starvation will actually dislodge the Houthis, while the Saudi military action and resulting chaos has benefited the Yemeni branches of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. In that sense, America’s conduct in Yemen has hurt our own national security.

In one sign of the ineffectiveness of the Western-backed government, the hunger is now as severe in its areas as in the rebel-held north. I saw worse starvation in Aden, the lovely seaside city in the south that is nominally run by the internationally recognized government, than in Houthi-controlled Sana.

And while I felt reasonably secure in Houthi-controlled areas, I was perpetually nervous in Aden. Abductions and murders occur regularly there, and my guesthouse offered not a mint on the pillow, but a bulletproof vest; at night, sleep was interrupted by nearby fighting among unknown gunmen.

What limited order exists in Aden is provided by soldiers from the United Arab Emirates and allied militias, and I worry that the U.A.E. is getting fed up with the war and may pull them out without alternative arrangements for security. If that happens, Aden may soon plunge into Somalia-like chaos.

Mohamed Zemam, the governor of the central bank, believes that there are ways to shore up the economy and prevent starvation. But he cautions that the risk of another Somalia is real, and he estimates that there may be two million Yemenis in one fighting force or another.

“What they have is the way of the gun,” he said. “If we don’t solve that, we will have problems for 100 years.”

Another danger is that the Saudi coalition will press ahead so that fighting closes the port of Hudaydah, through which most food and fuel come.

I stopped in Saudi Arabia to speak to senior officials there about Yemen, and we had some tough exchanges. I showed them photos on my phone of starving children, and they said that this was unfortunate and undesired. “We are not devils,” one said indignantly. They insisted that they would welcome peace — but that they must confront the Houthis.

“The most important thing for us is national security,” the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al-Jabir, told me. Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, an adviser to the royal court and director of a fund that provides aid to Yemen, told me that Saudis don’t want to see hunger in Yemen but added: “We will continue to do what it takes to fight terrorism. It’s not an easy decision.”

Saudi and U.A.E. officials note that they provide an enormous amount of humanitarian aid to Yemen. This is true, and it mitigates the suffering there. But it’s difficult to give the Saudis much credit for relieving the suffering of a country that they are bombing and starving.

To avert a catastrophe in Yemen, the world needs to provide more humanitarian aid. But above all, the war has to end.

“You’re not going to solve this long-term until the war is ended,” said David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Program. “It’s a man-made problem, and it needs a man-made solution.”

That solution will entail strong American backing for a difficult United Nations-backed peace process involving Yemeni factions and outsiders, aiming for a measure of power sharing. This diplomatic process requires engaging the Houthis, not just bombing them. It also means a cease-fire and pressure on all sides to ensure humanitarian access and the passage of food and fuel. The best leverage America has to make the Saudis part of the solution is to suspend arms sales to Riyadh so long as the Saudis continue the war.

In conference rooms in Riyadh and Washington, officials simply don’t fathom the human toll of their policies.

In a makeshift camp for displaced people in Aden, I met a couple who lost two daughters — Bayan, 11, and Bonyan, 8 — in a bombing in a crowded market.

“I heard the bomb and I went running after them,” the dad, Ahmed Abdullah, told me with an ache in his voice. “They were dead. One had her skull burst open, and the other had no arms or legs left.”

He told me that the family then fled, and he married off a 15-year-old daughter so that someone else would be responsible for feeding her. This is common: The share of girls married by age 18 has increased from 50 percent before the war to two-thirds today, according to Unicef.

A Yemeni child suffering from malnutrition being treated at a hospital in the capital, Sana, in late November.CreditMohammed Huwais/AFP-Services, for The New York Times

Another son died of fever when the family could not afford to take the boy to a hospital. There are several other children, and none of them are going to school any more; a 10-year-old daughter, Baraa, who is next in line to be married, couldn’t tell me what seven plus eight equals.

A bit hesitantly, I told Ahmed that I thought that my country, America, had probably provided the bomb that had killed his daughters. He was not angry, just resigned.

“I am not an educated person,” he told me earnestly. “I am a simple parent.” And then he offered more wisdom than I heard from the sophisticated policy architects in America and Saudi Arabia: “My message is that I want the war to stop.”

 

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09 Dec

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

Damn The War Criminals,

Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld,Wolfowitz, Powell and Blair from England.

.

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

visit-ti-arlington.jpg

The McGlynn

War News

Photos

A boy carries his sister, as he walks on rubble of a house after it was destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen’s capital Sanaa,

A girl carries her brother at a camp for people displaced by the war near Sanaa, Yemen,

REU: U.S. wants to continue support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – The United States wants to continue support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s war and will remain engaged in efforts to combat Iranian influence and Islamist militancy in the Arab state, a State Department official said on Sunday.

Since the Oct 2. murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, the U.S. administration has come under pressure at home over the nearly four-year-old conflict.

The Senate last month voted to advance a resolution to end U.S. military support, which includes arms sales and intelligence sharing, for the Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition that intervened in 2015 against the Iranian-aligned Houthis to restore the internationally recognized government.

“There are pressures in our system … to either withdraw from the conflict or discontinue our support of the coalition, which we are strongly opposed to on the administration side,” said Timothy Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs.

“We do believe that the support for the coalition is necessary. It sends a wrong message if we discontinue our support,” he told a security forum in the United Arab Emirates.

The United States last month halted U.S. refueling of aircraft from the coalition, which has been blamed for air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen.

The U.S. official’s reassurances of continued support comes as Sweden hosts the first U.N.-led peace talks in two years between the warring parties and as Gulf Arab leaders hold an annual summit in Riyadh on Sunday, expected to discuss the war.

Read full story »

NYT: The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House

Senior American officials were worried. Since the early months of the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, had been having private, informal conversations with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son of Saudi Arabia’s king.

Given Mr. Kushner’s political inexperience, the private exchanges could make him susceptible to Saudi manipulation, said three former senior American officials. In an effort to tighten practices at the White House, a new chief of staff tried to reimpose longstanding procedures stipulating that National Security Council staff members should participate in all calls with foreign leaders.

But even with the restrictions in place, Mr. Kushner, 37, and Prince Mohammed, 33, kept chatting, according to three former White House officials and two others briefed by the Saudi royal court. In fact, they said, the two men were on a first-name basis, calling each other Jared and Mohammed in text messages and phone calls.

The exchanges continued even after the Oct. 2 killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was ambushed and dismembered by Saudi agents, according to two former senior American officials and the two people briefed by the Saudis.

As the killing set off a firestorm around the world and American intelligence agencies concluded that it was ordered by Prince Mohammed, Mr. Kushner became the prince’s most important defender inside the White House, people familiar with its internal deliberations say.

Mr. Kushner’s support for Prince Mohammed in the moment of crisis is a striking demonstration of a singular bond that has helped draw President Trump into an embrace of Saudi Arabia as one of his most important international allies.

But the ties between Mr. Kushner and Prince Mohammed did not happen on their own. The prince and his advisers, eager to enlist American support for his hawkish policies in the region and for his own consolidation of power, cultivated the relationship with Mr. Kushner for more than two years, according to documents, emails and text messages reviewed by The New York Times.

A delegation of Saudis close to the prince visited the United States as early as the month Mr. Trump was elected, the documents show, and brought back a report identifying Mr. Kushner as a crucial focal point in the courtship of the new administration. He brought to the job scant knowledge about the region, a transactional mind-set and an intense focus on reaching a deal with the Palestinians that met Israel’s demands, the delegation noted……………In a statement, a White House spokesman said that “Jared has always meticulously followed protocols and guidelines regarding the relationship with MBS and all of the other foreign officials with whom he interacts.”

White House officials declined to explain those protocols and guidelines, and declined to comment on Mr. Kushner’s one-on-one communications with Prince Mohammed since the killing of Mr. Khashoggi.

Read full story »

ALJ: Removing President Hadi will not solve Yemen’s problems: official

Rimbo, Sweden – Yemeni officials have said that removing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi will “not solve the country’s problems” after their adversaries, the Houthi rebels, proposed the formation of a new transitional government.

Abdulaziz Jabari, a member of the government’s delegation to peace talks in Sweden and a senior adviser to the president, said the country’s woes stemmed from the Houthi takeover of Sanaa and other large expanses of the territory, not from the position Hadi occupied.

“The problem is the military coup that took place in 2014,” Jabari told Al Jazeera on Saturday. “The problem is with those, who through aggression, took over our country.”

“Let’s say Hadi is out of the equation, this is not going to solve the problem. On the contrary, fighting over power will continue,” he said.

“Our biggest problem is that there is a group which has hijacked the state.”

Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s adviser rejects Houthi proposal of a new transitional government at Sweden talks.

Read full story »

Political prisoners forgotten by the world protest on behalf of hundreds of thousands detained or ‘disappeared’

In the shaky mobile phone video, around a dozen men stand in silence, faces grim, placards held above their heads. The corridor’s yellow light reveals exposed wires and damp, peeling paint.

The men are detainees in the central prison in Hama, western Syria: some were arrested during the peaceful Arab Spring protests in 2011 and have been held without trial since.

“We have been imprisoned for many years in the darkness of detention cells, breathing in and breathing out agony,” one reads from a piece of paper explaining their decision to go on hunger strike. “We’re exhausted. We have the right to live and for our story to be taken seriously.”

The powerful message is a rare glimpse into the unseen world of Syria’s hundreds of thousands of political prisoners.

In Hama central prison around 200 men are now on their third week of hunger strike in protest at their continued detention – and a decision to transfer 11 prisoners to Damascus’s infamous Sednaya military prison, described by Amnesty International as a slaughterhouse.

If sent to Sednaya, the 11 are “dead men walking”, said Mustafa, a local activist, who added that relatives have gathered outside Hama police station in solidarity protests.

“Please, all human beings, all Syrians, I am not a terrorist. I never held a weapon. I just participated in a demonstration for freedom,” one hunger-striking detainee said in a WhatsApp voice note. “We spent years in Sednaya and now they want to send us back to execute us. We did no wrong to the Syrian people, from any background or sect. Listen to our voices. Listen just for once.”

Read full story »

NYT: Taliban Kill 8 Afghan Soldiers in Attack on Checkpoint

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan official says the Taliban have attacked an army checkpoint in the western Farah province, killing at least eight Afghan soldiers.

Abdul Samad Salehi, a provincial council member, says the insurgents abducted another 10 soldiers in the attack late Saturday.

Provincial police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib says three insurgents were killed and four others were wounded.

The Taliban, who control nearly half the country, carry out daily attacks mainly targeting security forces.

Read full story »

Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary, 24, from Export, Pennsylvania, died Dec. 2, 2018, in Landstuhl, Germany, as a result of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device on Nov. 27, 2018, in Andar District, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. The incident is under investigation.

McClary was assigned to 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers and one airman who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

The service members died Nov. 27, 2018, from injuries sustained when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Andar, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.

The soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The airman was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The incident is under investigation.

The deceased are:

Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29, of Lexington, Virginia.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, of Brush Prairie, Washington.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.

Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Care for Veterans:

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD Program Locator to find a PTSD program.

If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care

A boy carries his sister, as he walks on rubble of a house after it was destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen’s capital Sanaa,

Please do not forget the children.

The McGlynn

 

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08 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

Le Monde>>

View All>>

Wisdom, a 68-year-old Laysan albatross, has laid another egg with her longtime lover at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge

The world’s oldest Laysan albatross, a female named Wisdom, nesting on Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge.

The world’s oldest Laysan albatross, a female named Wisdom, nesting on Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge. Photograph: USFWS – Pacific Region

In sea mariner lore, an albatross is considered a good omen, and for almost seven decades, one bird has spread generations of blessings across the Pacific Ocean.

Wisdom, a 68-year-old Laysan albatross believed to be the world’s oldest known wild bird, has returned to her home at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge for yet another winter – and laid yet another egg to add to the already impressive brood that she has built up over an impressive lifetime.

Biologists with the US Fish and Wildlife Service think the almost-septuagenarian has birthed and raised as many as 36 chicks over the years. Should her latest egg with her longtime lover, Akeakamai, hatch, fledge and take to the open sea, it will be her 37th.

Wisdom was first banded in 1956 by biologist Chandler Robbins, who estimated that she was about five years old at the time. The biologist and bird met again in 2002 when he went to band her and recognized that she had been one of the 8,400 birds he recorded during his first season, 46 years previously.

Albatrosses are known for their long life spans and often outlive their researchers – Robbins died in 2017 at the age 98 – but what makes Wisdom unique is that researchers have been able to monitor her habits for so long. She may or may not be the oldest wild bird, but she is the oldest known wild bird, and her habits have been lovingly documented by the fish and wildlife service over social media.

And because so much of her background and history is known, researchers are learning more about her species by observing her. To a human, 68 years old may seem preposterous to still be laying eggs, but Wisdom and the other few documented examples of albatrosses in their 50s and 60s who do not appear to have trouble breeding at that age show the situation may be different for birds, said Beth Flint, a USFWS wildlife biologist.

Like many albatrosses, Wisdom returns nearly every year to the place she was born for nesting and mating. Midway Atoll, a two-and-a-half-sq-mile island belonging to the US that was the site of the decisive Battle of Midway during the second world war, remains mostly uninhabited when it comes to humans. But come winter, more than 1m Laysan albatrosses flock to the beaches to nest.

Albatrosses spend 90% of their lives at sea, soaring over the northern Pacific Ocean and feeding on squid and fish eggs. The fish and wildlife service estimates that Wisdom has clocked more than 6m miles in her travels – according to the Cornell lab of ornithology, Laysan albatrosses can range anywhere from the Aleutian Islands and the southern Bering Sea to Costa Rica.

Albatrosses take mating and nesting seriously, forming bonds with their mates for life. The Cornell lab describes their courtship displays as elaborate; they include “coordinated movements in which the birds touch bills, spread one or both wings, bob their heads, place their bill under one wing, and pause with their bill pointed at the sky”.

Once they’ve met their mates, the birds will rendezvous at the same nest site every winter – and go through some iteration of the courtship process again, Flint said.

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Air force failed to submit Devin Kelley’s fingerprints to the FBI after he was accused of violent crimes dating back to June 2011

A child leaves flowers on crosses for victims of the First Baptist church shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on 9 November 2017.

A child leaves flowers on crosses for victims of the First Baptist church shooting that killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on 9 November 2017. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The US air force missed four chances to stop the gunman who killed 26 people at a church in Texas in 2017 buying guns after he was accused of violent crimes while in the military, a report by the Department of Defense’s inspector general said on Friday.

Because the air force failed to submit Devin Kelley’s fingerprints to the FBI, the former airman cleared background checks to buy the guns he used at First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs.

Kelley, who was 26, was shot by a bystander as he fled and was found dead soon after, having shot himself in the head.

According to the inspector general’s report, the first missed chance came in June 2011, after the air force office of special investigations began investigating a report of Kelley beating his stepson while based in New Mexico.

The second chance came in February 2012, after the air force learned of allegations Kelley was beating his wife.

The third was in June 2012, when Kelley confessed on video to injuring his stepson.

The fourth was after Kelley’s court-martial conviction for the assaults in November 2013.

“If Kelley’s fingerprints were submitted to the FBI, he would have been prohibited from purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer,” the report said.

Each missed instance was a breach of policy, the report said. Multiple officials did not understand policies or were unable to explain why they were not followed.

The inspector general recommended that the air force improve training and examine whether officials should face discipline.

Previous reports have found widespread lapses in military reporting of criminal histories to the FBI.

The air force agreed with the inspector general’s findings and said they matched the conclusions of its own investigation, a spokeswoman said. The air force said it has been correcting other instances where it failed to submit fingerprints to the FBI, going back to 1998.

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Related:

Texas Church Shooting Kills 26 People

Tuesday February 28, 2017 President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun. Monday November 05, 2017 Trump Blames Texas Shooting On Mental Health, Says It’s Not About Guns.

The first image of Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman who stormed a small-town Texas church, killing 26 people and injuring 20 others before being found dead in his car, has emerged. NBC News has confirmed the 26-year-old had been discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct. NBC’s Craig Melvin reports for TODAY from Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Armoured vehicles and 8,000 police officers in French capital to contain violent fringe of gilets jaunes movement. Follow the latest developments

in Paris

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A demonstrator wearing a yellow vest grimaces through teargas in Paris.

A demonstrator wearing a yellow vest grimaces through teargas in Paris. Photograph: Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP

In the 17th arrondissement, Le Monde’s reporter saw a group of young men wearing yellow high-vis vests overturn scooters and set them on fire. Disgusted, more peaceful gilets jaunes protesters tried to stop them:

Some provincial gilets jaunes protesters have been prevented from boarding trains to Paris as part of the stringent security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week’s rioting.

A national police spokesman said officers had been stationed at train stations around the country and ordered to check all passengers and turn away those carrying equipment that could be used to “cause damage to people or property.”

If the Champs-Elysées remains relatively calm, trouble is spreading to other areas of Paris.

According to BFMTV, police and gendarmes on Boulevard Haussmann and the Grande Boulevards in the centre of Paris have used water cannon and teargas to disperse protesters who were trying to erect barricades using bus shelters and benches.

A barricade has been set on fire near République.

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