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U.S. Army deploys Abrams tanks to Poland


The U.S. Army has begun deploying Abrams main battle tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles to Poland as part of the final phase of training linked to DEFENDER-Europe 20, July 14 – Aug. 22.

The Baltic Security has reported that the equipment, to include approximately 55 Abrams main battle tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, was originally moved from Army Prepositioned Stock sites in Germany and Belgium to Bergen-Hohne Training Area, Germany, in February as part of the original DEFENDER-Europe 20 exercise. The equipment will move via commercial and military line-haul to Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland, for the second phase of the modified exercise.

As part of the training, the unit will also mount the Trophy system on Abrams tanks. Trophy is an active protection system that is designed to detect and defeat rocket propelled grenades, recoilless rifles and anti-tank guided missiles. The fielding of Trophy systems provides the U.S. Army’s logistics teams with the opportunity to assess and experience the dynamics of moving and installing the system in a field environment.

Approximately 550 Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, out of Fort Hood, Texas, will participate in the exercise. The 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters (Forward) out of Poznan, Poland, will serve as mission command for the exercise while the 7th Army Training Command out of Grafenwoehr, Germany, will provide exercise control.

All appropriate COVID-19 prevention ad mitigation measures will be taken prior to and during the deployment to ensure the health and protection of participating armed forces and the local population.

DEFENDER-Europe 20 was designed as a deployment exercise to build strategic readiness in support of the U.S. National Defense Strategy and NATO deterrence objectives. In response to COVID-19, DEFENDER-Europe 20 was modified in size and scope. The first phase was linked exercise Allied Spirit, which took place at Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland, June 5-19, with approximately 6,000 U.S. and Polish Soldiers.

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Feline on fleek! Cat has an army of Instagram followers thanks to his hilarious white eyebrows


Feline on fleek! Bombay cat’s hilarious white ‘eyebrows’ which give him a permanent look of concern have won him an army of Instagram followers

  • Cornelius Cornbread, four, from Nashville, Tennessee, is a stunning Bombay cat 
  • He has become popular on Instagram thanks to ‘eyebrow’ marks on his forehead 
  • Owner Karen Mellette says Cornelius has had ‘eyebrows’ since he was a kitten

A cat who appears to have eyebrows has conquered thousands of followers online thanks to his sophisticated looks.

Cornelius Cornbread, four, from Nashville, Tennessee, is a Bombay cat who has become a popular up-and-coming star on Instagram thanks to the white marks on his forehead.

According to his owner, retired teacher Karen Mellette, Cornelius has had ‘eyebrows’ since he was a kitten because of a lack of fur in the area between his eyes and ears.

And the cat’s permanent sassy look of concern is loved by his fans, with one admitting: ‘Humans would pay for brows like yours.’

A cat (pictured above) who appears to have eyebrows has won thousands of followers online thanks to his sophisticated looks

A cat (pictured above) who appears to have eyebrows has won thousands of followers online thanks to his sophisticated looks

Cornelius Cornbread (pictured at home), four, from Nashville, Tennessee, is a Bombay cat who has become a popular up-and-coming star on Instagram thanks to the white marks on his forehead

Cornelius Cornbread (pictured at home), four, from Nashville, Tennessee, is a Bombay cat who has become a popular up-and-coming star on Instagram thanks to the white marks on his forehead

According to his owner, retired teacher Karen Mellette, Cornelius (seen in a cute, blue outfit) has had 'eyebrows' since he was a kitten because of a lack of fur in the area between his eyes and ears

According to his owner, retired teacher Karen Mellette, Cornelius (seen in a cute, blue outfit) has had ‘eyebrows’ since he was a kitten because of a lack of fur in the area between his eyes and ears

Karen explained: ‘The “eyebrows” are formed by the white skin revealed through the thinner area of black fur in his brow area.

‘The combination of the sparse black “brow “hair and the unique rounded shape of the white skin showing through make him appear to have well-groomed eyebrows.

‘His brows are most definitely on fleek,’ she joked.

Karen began posting pictures of Cornelius online in 2018, and the cute feline now boasts more than six thousand followers. 

And the cat's permanent sassy look of concern (above) is loved by his fans, with one admitting: 'Humans would pay for brows like yours.'

And the cat’s permanent sassy look of concern (above) is loved by his fans, with one admitting: ‘Humans would pay for brows like yours.’

Karen began posting pictures of Cornelius (above) online in 2018, and the cute feline now boasts more than six thousand followers

Karen began posting pictures of Cornelius (above) online in 2018, and the cute feline now boasts more than six thousand followers 

One user commented on a photo of sassy-looking Cornelius, saying: ‘Humans would pay for brows like yours,’ while another one said: ‘He looks like a true gentlecat.’

According to Karen, Cornelius actually has a big personality to match his unique looks.

Karen said: ‘Cornelius has a big personality and loves to be at the centre of the attention, but he’s also a sweet, affectionate cat. 

According to his owner, beloved Cornelius (pictured) actually has a big personality to match his unique looks

According to his owner, beloved Cornelius (pictured) actually has a big personality to match his unique looks

Karen said: 'Cornelius (pictured) has a big personality and loves to be at the centre of the attention, but he's also a sweet, affectionate cat'

Karen said: ‘Cornelius (pictured) has a big personality and loves to be at the centre of the attention, but he’s also a sweet, affectionate cat’

‘He loves following us around, curling up on our laps or snuggling up next to us, and unlike many cats, he enjoys being held and carried.

‘Bombay cats are nicknamed “velcro cats” because they are so clingy, and Cornelius is no exception,’ Karen explained.

‘He can be very needy, he does not like to be left alone or ignored, and gets very anxious when he thinks I’m going to leave home without him.’



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Israel army says targets Hamas infrastructure after rocket fire


Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – Israel retaliated by air and tank fire Monday against Hamas positions after rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, the army said.

The tensions came after Gaza rulers Hamas called for unity among Palestinians and “resistance” against Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army said that a rocket had been fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip “into Israel”, the first such act in more than a month.

“Airplanes targeted Hamas infrastructure” in southern Gaza and “tanks targeted (its) military posts,” the army said.

Palestinian security sources confirmed that Hamas targets had been hit.

Earlier on Monday, senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil told a news conference “we call for the annexation project to be confronted with resistance in all forms”.

“We call on our people to transform this hardship into an opportunity to get the Palestinian project back on track,” Bardawil said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aims to begin a process of annexing West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley from July 1, as part of a US peace initiative.

Deep divisions remain between Islamist movement Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, but Bardawil called for a “union of the political class”.

“It is the duty of each free Palestinian citizen to rise up against this flagrant aggression on our land,” he said.

Bardawil called for a meeting between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which includes various other Palestinian groups.

Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, after ousting forces of president Mahmoud Abbas in a near civil war among the Palestinians.

Both the PA and Hamas stand opposed to annexation in the West Bank, which forms part of a controversial peace plan unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump.

The initiative paves the way for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory and without key Palestinian demands such as a capital in east Jerusalem.

Israel’s intention to press ahead with annexation has been met with warnings from the United Nations that such a move would likely spark violence.



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Cameroon army blames accident for village ‘massacre’


Yaoundé (AFP) – Cameroon’s army on Monday denied opposition charges that it had massacred villagers in a troubled anglophone region, blaming instead an “unfortunate accident” caused by an explosion of fuel during a firefight.

Up to 22 civilians, 14 of them children, died in the incident on Friday, according to the United Nations — deaths which opposition parties blamed on members of the armed forces.

But army spokesman Colonel Cyrille Atonfack Guemo described the allegations as “duplicitous.”

An army investigation, he said, found that the deaths happened after fuel was set ablaze during a gunfight with anglophone separatists.

Five civilians — a woman and four children — died, and “seven terrorists” were “neutralised,” Atonfack told AFP in Libreville by phone.

The deaths occurred in the village of Ntumbo in Cameroon’s Northwest Region — one of two English-speaking regions that have been grappling with separatist violence since October 2017.

More than 3,000 people have died and at least 700,000 have fled their homes.

“It was quite simply an unfortunate accident, the collateral result of security operations in the region,” Atonfack said in a statement.

He said four soldiers and two gendarmes had been carrying out nighttime reconnaissance on foot near a home that had been “transformed into a fortress” with a stockpile of weapons.

They came under heavy fire, and exchanges caused “several containers of fuel to explode, followed by a blaze which spread several neighbouring homes,” Atonfack said

“This fire caused five casualties, a woman and four children, (a figure that is) far off from what is doing the rounds on social media,” he added.

– Gunmen –

On Sunday, James Nunan, a local official with UN humanitarian coordination agency OCHA, told AFP that “armed men” had carried out the killings.

“Up to 22 civilians were killed, including a pregnant woman and several children,” Nunan said, adding that 14 children — including nine under age five — were among the dead.

Eleven of the children were girls, said Nunan, head of OCHA’s office for the Northwest and Southwest regions.

Aid workers contacted by AFP said witnesses had told them that between 40 and 50 armed men — some wearing army uniform and some wearing masks — entered Ngarbuh, a district of the village, before shooting inhabitants dead and burning them.

“They fired on people and burned victims — their bodies are in a terrible state,” said an aid worker, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“People phoned us to say that soldiers had come and smashed down doors, opened fire on people and set homes on fire,” Ntumbo resident Louis Panlanjo, a member of a local assocation, told AFP.

“People took shelter in the centre of the village. There was about 800 of them.”

A resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP in a phone interview that 35 bodies had been recovered and the army was to blame.

The Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), one of the country’s two main opposition parties, issued a statement condemning the attacks.

“The dictatorial regime (and) the supreme head of the security and defence forces are chiefly responsible for these crimes,” it said.

A key figure in the separatist movement, lawyer Felix Agbor Mballa, in a Facebook post also accused “state defence forces” of carrying out the killings.

The army had previously denied any involvement in the deaths.

On Monday, the much-delayed trial began in the capital of Yaounde of seven soldiers accused of the cold-blooded killing of two women and their babies in 2015.

The murders, which came to light through a video on the internet, were initially dismissed as “fake news” by the government, which later investigated the incident and arrested seven suspects.

– Restive region –

English-speakers account for nearly a fifth of Cameroon’s population of 24 million, who are majority French-speaking.

Years of grievances at perceived discrimination snowballed into a declaration of independence in October 2017, to which the government responded with a crackdown.

The declaration of independence has not been recognised internationally, although the government has lately responded to the crisis by decentralising some of its powers.

Friday’s killings followed elections on February 9 that were marred by violence in the regions blamed both on separatists and security forces.

The UN refugee agency said Thursday that almost 8,000 people had fled into Nigeria from Cameroon in the previous two weeks to escape the fighting, bringing the number of refugees to almost 60,000.



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US Army Reserve soldier serving in Syria dies from injuries sustained in rollover accident


Spc. Antonio I. Moore, 22, was on his first deployment when he died.

A 22-year-old U.S. Army Reserve soldier serving in Syria has died from injuries he sustained in a vehicle rollover accident.

Spc. Antonio Moore was conducting route clearance operations as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Deir ez-Zor Province in eastern Syria when he died Friday, according to the Army. It was his first deployment.

Moore, who is from Wilmington, North Carolina, enlisted in the Army in 2017 as a combat engineer, officials said. He was assigned to the 346th Engineer Company, 363d Engineer Battalion, 411th Engineer Brigade, in Knightdale, North Carolina.

About 750 troops are in eastern Syria, The Associated Press reported, citing military officials.

“The 363rd Engineer Battalion is deeply saddened at the loss of Spec. Antonio Moore,” Lt. Col. Ian Doiron, 363rd Engineer Battalion commander, said in a statement Saturday. “Antonio was one of the best in our formation. He will be missed by all who served with him. We will now focus on supporting his family and honoring his legacy and sacrifice.”

Moore’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. He is survived by his mother, stepfather, three brothers and a sister.

The accident is under investigation.



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U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle catches fire in Poland – Defence Blog


A U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle caught fire in Poland Saturday afternoon.

The incident according to an eyewitness happened near Gorzekaly village in northern Poland on 18 January.

As firefighters arrived, they found a Stryker armored vehicle involved in flames, according to Orzysz 998 volunteer fire brigade. Four fire brigades took part in the firefighting operation: WSP Bemowo Piskie, OSP Drygały, OSP Orzysz, JRG Pisz.

No one was injured in the fire. Two Soldiers were in the vehicle at the time the fire began and reported hearing a loud noise before smoke began seeping into the back of the cab.

The eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicle is the U.S. Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team primary combat and combat support platform. Significantly lighter and more transportable than existing tanks and armored vehicles, the Stryker fulfills an immediate requirement to provide Combatant Commanders with a strategically deployable (C-17/C-5) and operationally deployable (C-130) brigade capable of rapid movement anywhere on the globe in a combat ready configuration.

The Stryker brigade combat team (SBCT) combines the capacity for rapid deployment with survivability and tactical mobility. The Stryker vehicle enables the team to manoeuvre in close and urban terrain, provide protection in open terrain and transport infantry quickly to critical battlefield positions.

Photo by Orzysz 998
Photo by Orzysz 998

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Algeria holds state funeral for army chief | Algeria News


The state funeral for Algeria’s army chief is taking place, despite protesters defying calls for three days of mourning.

Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah suffered a heart attack on Monday.

The 80-year-old’s body was transferred to the People’s Palace where the newly elected president paid his respects.

Salah was regarded as the most powerful man in the country after longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April.

 

Al Jazeera’s Laura Burdon-Manley takes a look back at his life.





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NATO and EU Army Cannot Coexist



Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has warned that NATO and a future EU army cannot coexist.

Mr Farage said during a campaign event in Buckley, Wales, on Monday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has to choose the UK’s place inside or out the European Defence Union. He said that if the nation commits to the proto-EU army post-Brexit, then the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could collapse.

“NATO and a European Defence Union cannot coexist equally,” Mr Farage said in comments reported by POLITICO.

He continued: “No man effectively can serve both. We’ve got a decision to make.”

Highlighting the importance of British military might to Europe, the Brexit Party leader said: “If we leave the European Defence Union, it becomes valueless. Because without [the UK], it doesn’t have the muscle that it needs.”

“But if we stay, don’t be surprised if NATO falls to pieces and we leave the security and protection that America had for us, thank God, twice in the last century,” he added.

Mr Farage’s comments come as President of the United States of America Donald J Trump is in the United Kingdom for a three-day visit to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO. During his trip, President Trump is meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The President had criticised the commitment of NATO members when in 2015, just five of the then-28-member union had hit the two per cent GDP minimum spending on defence (those countries being the U.S., UK, Greece, Poland, and Estonia). The USA funds around 70 per cent of NATO, spending 3.4 per cent of its GDP on defence.

In the subsequent years and with the support of Secretary-General Stoltenberg, more European countries have heeded the criticisms of President Trump and have recommitted to the spending target. Even Germany, which was set to fail to meet its own reduced spending target, recently committed to increased spending. Expanded to 29 countries, seven nations are now hitting their two per cent target.

However, French President Emmanuel Macron, who along with Germany is a great proponent of an EU army, claimed last month that NATO was suffering a “brain death”. He alleged America was “turning its back on us [Europe]” and questioned the U.S.’s “commitment” to the defence union and its members.

Macron’s comments proved unpopular with his European allies, with Germany’s Chancellor Merkel saying with an uncharacteristic bluntness that the Frenchman had used “drastic words” and “NATO remains a cornerstone of our security.” The former German defence minister and the next president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also defended NATO as the “protective shield of freedom”.

President Trump started his NATO visit Tuesday by addressing Macron’s remarks, calling them “very insulting” and remarking that France had many problems of its own, stating: “Nobody needs NATO more than France.”

While the Germans and the French leadership may disagree fundamentally on the importance of NATO, they, along with Brussels, remain the cornerstone of support for an EU army, which Mr Farage fears will over-extend its reach and threaten the 70-year-old transatlantic alliance.

Mr Macron had said in November 2018 that the EU needs its own army to “protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia, and even the United States of America”. The call for a “real, true European army” was backed by Chancellor Merkel, the European Commission, and senior European Parliament politician Guy Verhofstadt.

Mr Farage warned in July that as president of the EU’s powerful executive arm, Mrs von der Leyen would advance plans for a European army, saying: “She’s a fanatic for building a European army, but she’s not alone. When it’s completed, NATO will cease to exist or have any relevance in Europe at all.”

In 2017, EU member states signed up to the Permanent Structured Cooperation process, or PESCO — a key element of the bloc’s Defence Union plans formulated by the outgoing European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, who had said the EU needs an army by 2025.

Mr Farage told voters in Wales on Monday that is EU is “not just talking about building their European Defence Union; they are talking about flexing their muscles around the world”.

“I find that in itself very alarming talk. What is clear, what is absolutely clear, is they want NATO out of Europe. That’s what the politicians in Brussels want,” he continued.

“I would say that in a world where there are some major serious threats, we need that military relationship with America today as much as we have ever needed it,” Mr Farage added.





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U.S. Army orders 30mm automatic chain guns – Defence Blog


The U.S. Army has awarded a contract to Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC, part of Northrop Grumman, to deliver 30mm automatic chain guns and bevel gears.

The contract, from U.S. Army Contracting Command and announced by the Department of Defense, is valued at more than $8 million.

According to a statement issued Friday, Alliant Techsystems Operations was awarded an $8 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of the M230 30mm automatic gun and the bevel gear.

The U.S. Department of Defense also noted that work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 19, 2024.

The M230 chain gun is a 30mm, single-barrel automatic cannon developed by Hughes and now manufactured by Northrop Grumman. It is an electrically operated chain gun, a weapon that uses external electrical power (as opposed to recoil or expanding gas generated by the firing cartridge) to cycle the weapon between shots.

A 30mm automatic M230 chain gun is located under the fuselage. It provides a rate of fire of 625 rounds a minute. The helicopter has a capacity for up to 1,200 rounds of ammunition.

The gun has a positive cook-off safety for open bolt clearing and double ram prevention. Spent casings are ejected overboard through the bottom of the gun.

Photo by Capt. Brian Harris

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California man held in Army veteran’s death also facing kidnap charge after police find hostage in his home: reports


A Southern California man arrested Monday in the alleged murder of a 34-year-old U.S. Army veteran also faces a kidnapping charge because police found a hostage in the suspect’s home, authorities said Wednesday, according to reports.

Antonio Silva, 27, of Santa Ana, is suspected of killing Adrian Darren Bonar, 34, whose body was found wrapped in a tarp in the trunk of a Lexus found abandoned in Anaheim last month.

REMAINS IN NEVADA IDENTIFIED AS PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN ALLEGEDLY LURED TO DESERT BY BOYFRIEND

Silva’s hostage had been at the house for at least two days and was released from a hospital Tuesday after treatment for unspecificed reasons, The Orange County Register reported. Also found in the home were two grams of fentanyl and firearms including two handguns and two rifles, KTLA of Los Angeles reported.

Antonio Silva is seen in an undated booking photo. (Anaheim Police Department via AP)

Antonio Silva is seen in an undated booking photo. (Anaheim Police Department via AP)

Bonar grew up in North County San Diego and was honorably discharged from the Army after serving during the Iraq War. His body was found in an abandoned car on a dirt road near a freeway in Anaheim Hills on Oct. 17. The vehicle may have been there as long as four days, KTLA reported.

Police didn’t give any more information about the manner of Bonar’s death nor about the circumstances under which Silva’s hostage was taken captive.

Adrian Darren Bonar, who served in the U.S. Army, was found dead Oct. 17 inside an abandoned vehicle, authorities say. (Anaheim Police Department)

Adrian Darren Bonar, who served in the U.S. Army, was found dead Oct. 17 inside an abandoned vehicle, authorities say. (Anaheim Police Department)

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“Regardless of what Adrian may have been involved in, he’s the victim of this crime,” Anaheim Police Chief Jorge Cisneros said, according to The Register. “No one deserves to die in this fashion.”

The investigation is ongoing.



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