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Horror in Soviet Ukraine: Why the Fight Against the Nazis During World War II Was so Terrible – The National Interest

Posted: April 20, 2020 at 12:52 am

Key point:Most Germans died fighting on the Eastern front. The war between the two titans of Europe would cost millions.

In 1941, the northwestern corner of the Ukraine was not what one would call tank country. With the exception of a few narrow, poorly maintained highways, movement was largely restricted to unpaved roads running through terrain dominated by forests, hills, small marshy rivers and swamps. Yet, during the first week of Germanys invasion of the Soviet Union, a tank battle involving up to 3,000 armored vehicles took place there. This struggle in a roughly triangular area bounded by the cities of Lutsk, Rovno and Brody, became the forerunner of the brutal armored clashes on the Eastern Front.

On June 22, 1941, Panzer Group 1, the armored spearhead of German Army Group South, breached the Soviet lines near the border town of Vladimir-Volynski at the juncture of the Soviet Fifth and Sixth Armies. As a result of this skillful tactical move, a gap 40 kilometers wide allowed the jubilant Wehrmacht troops to pour into Soviet territory. The Soviet Fifth Army, commanded by Major General M. I. Potapov, bore the brunt of the enemy thrust desperately attempting to slow the German tide.

The German operational plans called for a rapid advance to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, capturing it and reaching the Dnepr River just beyond the city. After achieving this objective, the German troops were to swing south along the river, trapping the bulk of forces of the Soviet Southwestern and Southern Fronts (Army Groups). The capture of Lutsk, an important road nexus, would allow the mobile German units an opportunity to break out into open terrain and advance along two axes to Kiev: the Lutsk-Rovno-Zhitomir-Kiev thrust and the Lutsk-Dubno-Berdichev-Kiev thrust.

Kirponos Unrealistic Orders

At the end of the first day of war, Lieutenant General M. P. Kirponos, commander of the Southwestern Front, received instructions from the Soviet National Defense Committee to immediately counterattack in the direction of Vladimir-Volynski, destroy the German forces operating from that area, and occupy the city of Lyublin by the end of June 24. The fact that the city of Lyublin was located over 80 kilometers inside German-occupied Poland caused General Kirponos to wonder if the Soviet High Command really understood the unfolding situation on the border.

Even though he realized that his mission was unrealistic, Kirponos was obliged to carry out his order. The problem facing him was two-fold. Not only was the Soviet defensive situation unstable, but the five mechanized corps earmarked for the counteroffensive were spread throughout the northwestern Ukraine. It would take some units up to three days to arrive in the area of operations. Therefore, all five mechanized corps would be committed into combat piecemeal, with marginal or non-existent cooperation among them.

The tight schedule did not allow Kirponos sufficient time to concentrate his forces and adequately prepare for the counterattack. To further complicate the situation, many units of Soviet mechanized corps were mechanized in name only. Many regiments of the motorized infantry divisions lacked wheeled transport, and many artillery regiments were woefully short of prime movers. There were widespread shortages of communications equipment and artillery, especially armor-piercing ammunition.

As the Soviet mechanized formations began moving toward the border, the German Luftwaffe launched relentless and merciless air attacks on the armored columns strung out along the narrow roads. Often, the Soviet drivers, desperately trying to maneuver for cover, became bogged down in the difficult terrain and had to abandon or blow up their vehicles. The attrition of poorly maintained armored vehicles due to mechanical breakdowns began to reach alarming proportions. Due to losses from air attacks and mechanical failures, some Soviet tank formations eventually went into action with less than 50 percent of their operational strength.

Still, the forces converging on the Panzer Group I were formidable, almost double the number of panzers available to Lieutenant General Paul L. Ewald von Kleist. The actual pre-war strength of the five Soviet mechanized corps consisted of roughly 3,140 tanks. Even allowing for a large percentage of non-combat losses during the approach to battle, these numbers still dwarfed the approximately 618 tanks that were available to the German commander.

In the early afternoon of June 24, one of the tank divisions of the 22nd Mechanized Corps came into contact with the advancing Germans west of Lutsk. This division, the 19th, was severely brutalized by the German air attacks during its approach and was plagued by mechanical breakdowns. Its remaining 45 light T-26 tanks and 12 armored cars were combined into one provisional regiment and committed into action after a short preparatory artillery barrage. A seesaw fight with the units from German 14th Panzer Division raged for two hours during which the Soviet unit lost most of its remaining armored vehicles and was forced to fall back to nearly 15 kilometers west of Lusk.

The fight was costly for both sides. The commander of the 22nd Mechanized Corps, Major General S. M. Kondrusev, was killed, and the commander of the 19th Tank Division was wounded. All the regimental commanders in the division were also killed or wounded. However, as the result of their sacrifice, the 14th Panzer Division suffered heavy losses as well and was not able to take Lutsk.

During the night of June 24-25, elements from the other two divisions of the 22nd Mechanized Corps began to take up their positions alongside the remains of the 19th Tank Division. Fuel shortages were severe, and the Soviet officers partially overcame this problem with a field expedient solution of siphoning fuel from disabled vehicles and distributing it to still operational machines.

Panzers Versus KV-2s

The Soviet units were hardly in shape to fight when the Germans seized the initiative in a dawn attack. In a savage battle that lasted into late afternoon, the Soviet forces disputed every inch of ground. The Germans, steadily grinding down the outgunned light T-26 and BT tanks, came up against a dozen of the monstrous Red Army KV-2 heavy tanks. German shells simply bounced off the thick armor of the KV-2s ungainly high and boxy turrets. On those few occasions when the KV-2s did manage to bring their 152mm howitzers into play, they were able to temporarily check the German advance.

The best defense the Germans had against these monsters was to wait them out, allowing the Soviet tanks to run out of ammunition and fuel. On one occasion, the crew of a KV-2 tank, its turret ring jammed, out of ammunition and almost out of fuel, drove their vehicle off a steep bank into a river, the driver bailing out at the last moment. More suitable as self-propelled artillery, the small numbers of KV-2s that actually entered the fight did not pose more than a minor local inconvenience to the German panzers.

Germans Grab Lutsk and Dubno, Then Head South

Finally, in fading daylight, and silhouetted by the fires of the burning suburbs around them, the 13th Panzer Division broke into Lutsk after a successful flank attack, forcing the Soviet units to evacuate the city. The desperate fight of the 22nd Mechanized Corps bought valuable time, slowing down two German corps for a day and a half. It also allowed time for the Soviet 9th Mechanized Corps to arrive and deploy in the Rovno area, 65 kilometers east of Lutsk.

At the same time that the Germans continued to exploit the gap breached between the Fifth and Sixth armies, they also advanced south from Lutsk toward the towns of Brody and Dubno, taking Dubno by nightfall. The situation of the Fifth Army was indeed grave. Many of its units found themselves surrounded and fighting for their lives, scattered all the way from the border to Lutsk. The remains of the 22nd Mechanized Corps were streaming in disorder along the highway to Rovno, spreading panic as they went. Only the direct involvement of some of the staff officers from the headquarters of the Fifth Army restored partial order.

Throughout June 26, the Germans attempted to batter their way into Rovno along the Lutsk-Rovno and Dubno-Rovno highways. Unable to do so due to the stubborn resistance of the Fifth Army, they switched their aim south to Rovno, along the secondary roads to the town of Ostrog. The fall of Ostrog would have allowed the Germans to surround the Soviet forces defending Rovno or, at least, force them to pull back.

The Soviet 19th Mechanized Corps, under Major General N. V. Feklenko, moved to intercept this new threat and crashed in behind the 11th and 13th Panzer Divisions, which formed the German spearhead. The furious Soviet attack scattered several German supporting units and advanced up to 30 kilometers into German-held territory. In the early afternoon, the Soviet 43rd Tank Division, the vanguard of the attack, fought its way to the eastern outskirts of Dubno. German anti-tank artillery inflicted heavy casualties on the light T-26 tanks, which made up the bulk of the 19th Mechanized Corps.

With impressive tactical handling, the German commanders reacted to this new threat and counterattacked the two dangerously overextended Soviet tank divisions. Caught between the anvil of two German infantry divisions and the hammer of two panzer divisions, Major General Feklenko ordered his corps to pull back to its starting positions in the vicinity of Rovno. By nightfall the fighting had died down, and Dubno remained firmly in German hands.

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6 top players whose careers were ruined by injuries – Vanguard

Posted: at 12:52 am

For footballers that suffer career-defining injuries, its the cruellest fate that could happen to a professional. Here, we pay homage to six players who were victims of their own failing bodies.

Hands up who had the greatest career curtailed by injury? Yes, thats right, its you Marco.

Three-time Ballon Dor winner Marco van Basten played his last football match aged 28, which is an even more surprising tidbit than the Dutchmans nickname The Swan.

Thankfully, in his 12-year playing career, Van Basten packed in a ridiculous amount of success. A serial winner for club and country, he won six league titles, two European Cups and a European Championship in 1988. Thats a medal haul that could be shared between a normal squad of 25.

Van Bastens ankles first became problematic in 1987 his first season at Milan. The Dutchman was restricted to 11 appearances for the Rossoneri and it began a tumultuous relationship between himself and his anatomy.

However, that time to heal was well received and Van Basten went on an absolute tear. He put his recovery time to good use by winning the 1988 Euros and scoring one of the greatest goals ever against the Soviet Union in the final.

Perception changed immediately following that competition; Van Basten had entered a new stratosphere. The Dutchman would then continue to dominate as a vital part of Arrigo Sacchis Milan side, a team that went 58 games unbeaten and are viewed by many to be the greatest club side ever.

By 28, after a season on the sidelines, Van Basten couldnt do it anymore the Swans troublesome ankles had returned.

What might have been otherwise? World Cup winner? Five-time Champions League winner? The first man to win a trophy on the moon? Probably.

Its only appropriate to follow up the greatest Dutch striker with the greatest English striker.

Dean Ashtons 2005/06 campaign will live long in the memories of Hammers fans, whose tortured fandom means that Deanos exploits nearly 15 years ago are some of their most treasured memories.

To be fair to Ashton, his career trajectory following that season was only pointing one way (hint: it wasnt down). Joining West Ham from Norwich in the January transfer window, the Hammers new number nine settled in immediately.

Premier League defenders found it difficult to deal with Ashtons pace and power as he helped himself to six strikes in sixteen appearances. His play meant that after a few months at Upton Park, bigger Premier League clubs started sniffing around.

There were even calls for Ashton to make a late claim for the 2006 World Cup squad, but old Deano didnt make the 23. However, Ashton didnt have to wait long for England to call as he joined a training squad later that year.

In a cruel turn of events that wouldnt seem out of place in a Hollywood movie, Ashton suffered his most serious injury during England training.

Deanos barely believable first six months in the Premier League had led to immediate success, a potential lucrative big-money move, England recognition and a serious injury.

Ashton would bounce back 12 months later with form that again led to England recognition, an England cap and plenty of Hammers fans swearing these streets wont forget Deanos 2007/08 season.

However, Ashtons body couldnt recover to its former glory, perpetually injured with ankle issues and cruelly, at 26, Deano had to call it a day.

King would get the ball off you without you even noticing hes the only defender in England who doesnt hold onto you, and he sometimes still gets the ball off my feet easily.

If Thierry Henry rates you, then youve got to be pretty good.

Ex-England manager Fabio Capello called King without doubt, one of the greatest defenders in England. Ex-spurs boss and professional smoker Martin Jol described King as the best central defender I have ever seen.

Simply put, Ledley King was the greatest defender that England never really had. 21 caps could easily have been 100, King was that good.

Under George Grahams management, King started his career in midfield. Graham was blown away by how athletic King was and felt that he wouldnt be out of place in a position that wasnt his. Graham was right.

In his debut season, King scored the Premier Leagues fastest goal in 2000, a record that lasted 18 years. Just five seasons later, King would be starting as part of Englands golden generation at the 2004 Euros.

Playing football at a different frequency, King had been touted for England from the early days. Ledley was sometimes considered a prospect level with John Terry a teammate at the vaunted youth team Senrab.

However, rather than one bad tackle changing everything, chronic knee issues would derail Kings progression. So debilitating was Kings pain that towards the end of his career, the Spurs man couldnt train.

However, on Saturdays, King would return to the starting line-up and boss Premier League strikers around. Not bad for a man with one knee.

The second coming of Patrick Vieira, Abou Diaby must be forever cursing ex-Sunderland defender Dan Smith after a mistimed tackle changed his career forever.

Arsenal went to the Stadium of Light needing a win to keep their challenge for fourth-place alive in 2006. In the final minutes of a comprehensive 3-0 win, Smith overhits a pass that Diaby mops ups and passes on.

Frustrated for giving the ball away, Smith dives in late, breaking Diabys ankle and rupture his ligaments. Arsne Wenger never forgave the Sunderland man, claiming Diaby had been a victim of an assassins tackle that went unpunished.

Diaby suffered 21 injuries during his eleven years at Arsenal and Marseille, never managing to break the shackles of his ailing frame.

He would occasionally flash the potential that had seen him win a place at Frances elite footballing academy, Clairefontaine.

Diabys performance at Anfield in 2012 will always be the headline of what might have been for Abou.

The Frenchman bossed the game, outplaying Steven Gerrard as Arsenal went to Liverpool and comfortably won the game 2-0. Diaby cruelly tempted Arsenal fans, with a performance that looked like the Gunners next world-class player.

Accurately summing up his Arsenal career, Diaby would go onto to make ten other league appearances in a season that promised so much more.

However, his returns from injury would perpetually be referred to as like a new signing, but unfortunately, he would always end back in the treatment room.

Given his stint at Stoke, the hours of embarrassing content that Owen produced in the 1990s thats readily available on YouTube and his online persona, youd be forgiven for thinking of Owen as something of a comedy figure.

However, when the 18-year-old Michael Owen scored his wonder goal against Argentina at World Cup 98, these thoughts were far from everyones mind. Dreams of Maradona were in every Englishmans heart were we watching the next footballing superstar?

Fast forward three years on and after winning a treble (not the treble) with Liverpool, Owen wins the Ballon dOr. These are lofty times for Michael in 2001, theres the genuine belief that Owen can fire England to glory.

Tracing the route of Owens injury concerns, it all began when he was 19 and he tore his hamstring. It was so harsh that the muscle group that gave Owens unique and vital acceleration was already troubling him so early in his professional career.

Its the cruel thing about debilitating injuries they allow you to play and reach your highest level occasionally. Owen was able to reach his 1998 level for example in 2001, but the Englishman was forever thinking about doing more damage.

Speaking to BT Sport, Owen said: I was petrified of running into a channel. I just knew I was going to tear a muscle. The worst thing about it is your instinct is to do what you have done all your life but you start thinking: Oh no, dont.

It was remarkable to see how differently Owen moved in 2004, just three years removed from winning the Ballon dOr. For a player that seemed destined to bring England out from the doldrums, it was a meteoric fall as Owens unique acceleration disappeared.

Whenever Owen Hargreaves pulled on an England shirt, he always performed.

The midfielders work at the 2004 Euros and 2006 World Cup made him a contender for Englands best player. It was surprising to see Hargreaves perform on such an elite stage but the thing about him was that hed only played on an elite stage.

Starting your career at Bayern means youre introduced to pressure, constant criticism and hundreds of eyes watching you. At Germanys top club, standards are high, and if theyre not met, theres a simple solution. Youre out.

The midfielder was forged in the fires of Die Roten so when he arrived in England, Hargreaves had already won four Bundesliga titles and a Champions League.

Cruelly or perhaps luckily depending on your perspective, Hargreaves only season where he could contribute was Uniteds 2007/08 season. Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez lead the line in an absolutely stacked team. A league and Champions League double summed up a sparkling season for the club.

Hargreaves even stamped his authority on the season by scoring a brilliant free-kick that ended Arsenals brief title challenge. However, in three more seasons at Old Trafford, the midfielder would go on to make only four more appearances for the club.

A litany of problems would curse the next four years of Hargreaves professional life as he complained that even walking downstairs became problematic. It was such a cruel ending for a player that looked set to enter the peak of his playing power.

Hargreaves drifted out of national consciousness (do you even remember his spell at Manchester City?) to end an excellent career. At least well always have the training videos.

Football 365



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Infection at second nursing home heightens worries over seniors – The Straits Times

Posted: at 12:51 am

Another nursing home in Singapore has been hit by Covid-19, raising fresh concerns about vulnerable seniors.

On Monday, a 77-year-old male resident of Vanguard Healthcare's Woodlands Care Home (WLCH) at 2 Woodlands Rise was reported to be infected with Covid-19.

The resident, known as Case 2,561, tested positive for the infection on Sunday afternoon, and is now in an isolation room at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. It is not clear how he was infected, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Like other nursing homes, WLCH hadstopped receiving visitors from Apr 2. A separate standalone senior care centre on its premises which provides daycare, dementia daycare and rehabilitation services to senior citizens in the area remained open.

The Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said the centre was allowed to remain open during the circuit-breaker period of enhanced social distancing measures to provide care for clients with no alternative arrangements.

With the confirmed case, the senior care centre has been closed and alternative arrangements have been made for its clients.

In a statement, AIC said it was working with MOH to support WLCH in managing the situation.

WLCH, which is run by the Government, has conducted a thorough cleaning and disinfection of the resident's ward and affected areas of the home. It has 248 beds in the facility.

Contact tracing is ongoing and those who had close contact with the resident, including any WLCH staff, will be quarantined.

The Straits Times has reached out to AIC and MOH to find out if the rest of the seniors from the home and centre will be tested, isolated or quarantined.

AIC said it is working to provide WLCH with manpower support to ensure service continuity, so that residents of the home will not be affected.

Nursing homes have become hotbeds for Covid-19 infections in many parts of the world.

On Monday, Canada's public health office reported that close to half of the 735 deaths in the country so far are linked to long-term care facilities.

In the United States, 127 out of 163 elderly residents of a nursing home in the state of Virginia have tested positive for Covid-19, and 42 of those patients have died.

In Singapore, Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home was the first home to have a case of Covid-19 infection. It saw an outbreak following its first reported case on April 1, with 16 linked cases in all and two deaths, both 86-year-old female residents.


Infection at second nursing home heightens worries over seniors - The Straits Times

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Jeffrey Reeves: Experiences from best practices in Asia show a path forward in the fight against COVID-19 – The Province

Posted: at 12:51 am

Zodov Dolgor has been in self-quarantine since January.

A 70-year-old Mongolian woman with chronic hypertension, she forgoes nearly all social interaction out of concern for her personal health and in line with her governments strict directives to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recently, shes been struggling with loneliness and depression, but remains committed to staying indoors.

Landlocked between Russia and China, Mongolia has been virtually locked down since early January when its government made the unpopular decision to close schools and daycares, to limit inbound and outbound travel and to cancel New Years celebrations. Early on that was criticized, but these now-lauded measures have kept the number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 31 (as of Friday).

Lessons learned from Mongolia? Strict, enforced measures around social distancing and self-isolating work, particularly when citizens consider it as their civic duty to prevent the spread of disease. Also, extended periods of mandatory self-isolating have a clear human cost any comprehensive response to the COVID-19 challenge must address issues including mental health and resiliency.

Singapore is using its military to identify and trace individuals who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Public health officials follow up with house calls to ensure self-quarantining.

Taiwan is using a data-centric approach to minimize the coronavirus spread, drawing on myriad databases to identify individuals at high risk of past exposure. Public health officials then send tailored alert messages to individuals outlining steps for treatment and/or isolation.

As of April 7, South Korea had conducted more than 477,000 COVID-19 tests, or one test for every 108 of its citizens. The countrys aggressive testing strategy, supported by a robust information campaign including multiple daily text messages to all South Koreans identifying COVID hot spots, has helped the country avoid the widespread economic disruption and school closures that characterize much of the Western worlds responses.

In Wuhan, China, doctors and nurses have developed strict protocols to prevent infection among hospital staff. Chinese health-care professionals are now more likely to catch COVID-19 at home than at work. To their credit, Vancouver-based health professionals have worked with health-care providers in Wuhan to learn from their experiences and to implement changes in hospital procedures.

As Canada works to develop an effective response to this unparalleled health challenge, the experiences from Asia, arguably, offer the best path forward. At a time when Western countries are faltering in their responses, Asian governments have emerged as the global leaders in the fight against COVID-19.

While provinces such as B.C. and Alberta compare favourably to South Korea in their approach to testing, indeed testing more residents per capitathan South Korea, they can still learn from Asian best practices on other important fronts including COVID-related communication strategies, the use of technology in COVID management and response, and reopening strategies. Moreover, as Canada must develop a national approach to COVID that supports provincial responses, Ottawa can learn much from Seoul, Taipei and Beijing.

The experiences coming from Asia are not only relevant because the region is somewhere between two and three months ahead of Canada in terms of its exposure and response, but also because Asian countries are leading the world in public health innovation, including how to manage a disease in a large population of senior citizens. This is not to suggest that Asian states are infallible indeed, criticisms of Chinas earliest attempts to play down the COVID crisis are valid but rather to suggest Canada can learn as much from Asian countries failures as their successes.

Asian economies are some of the most integrated in the world, with supply and value chains stretching across numerous countries, each ultimately dependent on the other. As weeks stretch to months, Asian states will be the vanguard to ensure that the future of global trade has some semblance of its past structure.

Perhaps most importantly, it is Asias experience with SARS that makes its responses to COVID-19 so important to follow. This pandemic is not Asias first proverbial rodeo, but rather a challenge for which Asian states have long prepared with clear knowledge of the economic, political and social risks associated with policy failure.

Despite the benefits derived from observation of Asian nations pandemic responses, the vast majority of comparative analysis in Canada instead focuses on Europe and the United States. The failure to look to Asian states as potential models for Canada is a failure to acknowledge standards that have emerged as international best practices around pandemic mitigation. Canada has far more to learn from the Chinese response to the coronavirus outbreak than to the American stop-and-start approach.

Neither is Asias importance to Canada limited to policy ideas. Canada is dependent on Asian suppliers for its health-care supplies, including medical gloves, medical goggles, monitoring systems, hand sanitizers and diagnostic ultrasound systems (used for diagnosing COVID-19). Canada is particularly dependent on China for its health supplies a dependency that points to the importance of continued engagement between our two countries.

Over the next several months, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada will work to translate Asian experiences around pandemic response and mitigation to the Canadian context. The Foundations analysts will examine policy statements, media reporting and social media accounts to provide useful intelligence through its Asia Watch publications to the Canadian public and private sectors around effective measures Asian states have used to address the coronavirus challenge.

At a time when Canada needs a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to deal with this unprecedented pandemic, the lessons drawn from Asia provide an important input into continuing deliberations.

Not all lessons will be applicable, of course, as Canadas experience is unique. Yet the challenges Zodov Dolgor faces in Mongolia her extended isolation, economic well-being, and emotional health are universal. While there may be challenges Canada has yet to face, her present-day situation can provide us a window into the future. In learning from the challenges she faces, we can better prepare for challenges sure to come.

Jeffrey Reeves is vice-president of research for the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and an expert on economics, politics and security in Asia.

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The U.S. and U.K. Have a Special (Missile) Relationship – The National Interest

Posted: April 11, 2020 at 7:59 pm

The majority of the United Kingdoms missile technology was developed in tandem with the United States, and is thus compatible with American weapons platforms. Here are two missiles that show just how close the United States and the United Kingdoms missile tech really is.

Trident D-5

Perhaps the most well-known missile in the United Kingdoms arsenal is the Trident D-5. The Trident D-5 missile is in service with both the United States and the United Kingdom, where it is used to equip American Ohio-class submarines, and British Vanguard-class subs. Its maximum range is 12,000 kilometers, or about 7,500 miles and carries a nuclear payload.

The Trident family of missiles was originally developed in the late 1980s at the tail-end of the Cold War. It entered service with the United States in 1990 and with the United Kingdom in 1994. Although each missile is capable of carrying up to twelve re-entry vehicles, the New START treaty caps this number at eight.

Trident missiles have been steadily improved nearly as soon as they entered service. In 1994, an earth penetrating version was developed that could eliminate hardened, underground targets. In 1998, Tridents were given an optionally-equipped air burst fuse, presumably for non-tactical scenarios where maximum destructive power would be ideal.

Though the Trident missile system was intended to be retired by the United States in the late 2020s, 300 Tridents are currently being upgraded, which will allow them to remain in service with both the United States and the United Kingdom until at least 2042.

Nuclear missiles get a lot of attention. Heres something conventionally explosive:

Spear 3

In the aftermath of NATOs 1999 involvement in Kosovo, a missile capability gap was observed. United Kingdom forces struggled at times to carry out strikes against mobile and time-sensitive targets. The Spear 3 was developed to fill this gap.

The Spear 3 is an air-launched cruise missile that can target air defense units, ballistic missile launchers, fast moving and maneuvering vehicles, main battle tanks, naval vessels, and armored personnel carriers.

The Spear 3 also has stand-off capabilities, and is intended to be launched at ground targets at safe distance away from advanced anti-aircraft and air defense systems, especially those used by Russia. To that end, the Spear 3 has wings that deploy after launch, giving the missile a 140 plus kilometer range, or nearly 90 miles.

It is domestically-designed in the UK and specifically intended for use with the American F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter. The F-35 can carry the Spear 3 internally in the weapons bay, or under the wings on two external hard points, though carrying missiles outside the weapons bay would greatly degrade the F-35s stealth characteristics.

One of the considerations that was prioritized during the design process was missile robustness. The missile is insensitive to external factors that could cause its trajectory to deviate or the missile to explode, like bullet strikes or extreme heat or cold. It can be deployed against many targets and be specifically tailored to achieve its desired effect based on mission-specific details in real-time.

Special Relationship

There is no denying the U.S.-UK Special Relationship, which is very apparent when looking at the missile development and interoperability between the two countries. Trident missiles equip American and British submarines, and the UK developed munitions specifically for their American-bought stealth fighter-jetsa friendship for the ages.

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer with The National Interest. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.

Image: Wikipedia.

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Transitioning into the Electronic Court System – The Peoples Vanguard of Davis

Posted: at 7:59 pm

A screenshot from electronic court in Sacramento

By Nancy Martinez

What will be the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 on the national criminal justice system?

The COVID-19 pandemic has momentarily transformed Californias criminal justice system; some argue that this change is exactly what is needed for the 21st century, while others argue that it violates the right to confront ones accuser.

As of April 1, the Sacramento Superior Court began live-streaming some criminal court proceedings through the live stream application, Zoom. The San Francisco Superior Court will also begin live streaming some proceedings. These decisions come after several published statements on the courts websites declaring court closures until mid-April.

Court closures have resulted in extended periods for motions to be filed. While this is currently affecting the timeframe individuals are kept in jail, this has also initially affected civil jury trials, such as eviction trials. Dean Preston, Supervisor of San Franciscos Fifth District, discussed via a thread of tweets on March 14 that the San Francisco Superior Court had exempted the continuation of eviction cases while all other civil jury tries were continued for 90 days.

Individuals who were in the process of being evicted from their homes were required to present themselves in court to defend their case.

While these orders have changed since March 14, as the pandemic worsens, this clearly shows the impact COVID-19 has had on court trials and the responses courts have had to unprecedented change.

To avoid further delaying court matters, multiple California courts have endorsed the use of conferencing tools such as Zoom to live stream court hearings.

Though some technological obstacles may arise during these streams, the Superior Court of Sacramento has found the technique to be successful and plans on expanding technology-based solutions to other areas, as reported in a news release on April 3.

COVID-19 has enforced a sudden change that some believe was already coming. As the turn of the 21st century brought an explosion of technological advances, the criminal justice system and its processes remained unchanged.

The criminal justice system has seen little change in the traditional trial process. In the last 20 years, efficiency may have increased as technology has allowed for a swifter court process. However, drastic changes have been surprisingly unseen.

As many people online predict that the world will never return to the ways before COVID-19, it is reasonable to conclude that the criminal justice system will not be exempted from these predictions. This sudden heavy reliance on technology has begun instilling an idea of an electronic future that does not require in-person interactions.

The success of new technological techniques will allow future courts to be able to consider other methods that can alleviate the inconveniences of crowded courtrooms, trauma on witnesses from facing defendants, and communication struggles.

On the other hand, a remote court system can affect the benefits of in-person interactions that include a defendants right to confront their accuser, accurate and clear communication between the defendant and their attorney, and attention retention of all members of the court.

Despite the advantages and disadvantages of a remotely-sustained court system, the question of whether the criminal justice system will remain unchanged after COVID-19 seems insignificant after considering the reactions courts have had to the introduction of streaming services.

To deny a predicted long-lasting effect of COVID-19 on the criminal justice system is to deny the development of a rapidly changing world at the hands of technology. Society is now comprehending how to adjust a justice system that is struggling to defend the human rights of individuals affected by the justice system.

In the coming months, the long-lasting effects of an electronic court system will be determined as courts across the United States devote their efforts to remotely assist their communities.

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COVID 19: Presidency rejects reps summons over palliative funds – Vanguard

Posted: at 7:58 pm

**As House Insists on Probe

The House of Representatives, yesterday vowed to dig into the expenditure of the Social Intervention Funds as a palliative for Nigerians who are depressed by the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic, the refusal of the Presidency to cooperate with them, notwithstanding.

The House, in a statement issued by its Spokesman, Rep. Benjamin Kalu(APC-Abia), also rejected allegations by an online newspaper and the Special Advisor to the President on National Social Investment Programs (NSIPs), Mrs. Maryam Uwais that the House attempted to compromise operations of the programme.

We are aware that Madam Uwais has on certain occasions, including a TV interview on ChannelsTVs Sunrise Daily programme, cited Section 14 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as providing an exemption by which the FG can refuse to reveal details of the NSIPs to the National Assembly. This suggests a deliberate attempt by Madam Uwais to conceal information pertaining to the financial activities of NSIP from the elected representatives of Nigerians as we especially recall that she blatantly ignored a letter of enquiry from the House Committee on Public Account addressed to her in her capacity as Special Assistant to the President on NSIP dated August 6, 2019 with reference number HR/SCO5/52/XX/400 requesting a brief of the activities (including income and expenditure profile) of her office from the year 2014 to 2018, he stated.

The Spokesman stated further that While stating categorically that the operations of the NSIP do not fall under the exemptions contemplated in Section 14 of the FOI Act, it is instructive to note that Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution vests exclusive powers of oversight on the legislative arm of government, which also applies to any and all forms of government intervention programs, including the NSIP which is a disbursement of the nations funds appropriated by the National Assembly in the first place. The powers of the National Assembly to investigate or request any information from the executive are vested by the Constitution and are not subject to the stipulation of the FOI Act, he stated on behalf of the House .

He warned that We must remember that the doctrine of checks and balances is an essential element of our constitutional democracy and once it is discarded our democracy becomes wobbly. Therefore, the 9th House of Representatives frowns at any fake news or publication that seeks to cast aspersions on its intentions and commitment to the people of Nigeria in its exercise of constitutional duties, stressing that the Peoples Parliament and in the spirit and letter of Sections 14, 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (the Constitution), our priority remains to employ all legislative interventions to ensure the welfare of Nigerians in the face of the Covid-19 crisis and the economic hardship it has wrought on the poor and vulnerable among us.

He described as misleading and slanderous, publications of Madam Maryam Uwais MFR and Sahara Reporters both published on April 8, 2020 regarding the implementation of the National Social Investment Programs (NSIPs), the National Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, including the development of the National Social Register (NSR).

He said insinuations in the above mentioned publications that the 9th House of Representatives labeled the NSIPs as a failure and a scam are incorrect and untrue. So also are the insinuations that the 9th House of Representatives has sought to compromise the NSR and input the names of undeserving Nigerians as beneficiaries of the programs.

According to him, the 9th House of Representatives under the leadership of the Speaker Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila acting upon complaints from Nigerians in 360 federal constituencies regarding the inadequate spread of the NSIPs, and also concerns that the NSR is outdated and does not reflect an accurate representation of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria, intervened through a cordial interaction with the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq with the sole aim of ensuring and enhancing the delivery of service as well as the equitable distribution of the programs to the Nigerians most in need of them during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He disclosed that Part of our concerns expressed at this meeting, was the need to review and improve the outdated NSR as well as the methodology deployed in identifying the poor and vulnerable in the various communities in view of the complaints from several constituencies that they have not benefited from the programs. An outcome of this meeting was an understanding per the Speakers proposition that a legislative framework is needed to maximize the efficiency of the NSIPs.

Vanguard Nigeria News


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Guest Commentary: Every Public Official with the Power to Decarcerate Must Exercise That Power Now – The Peoples Vanguard of Davis

Posted: at 7:58 pm

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Doing so will save countless lives, and in the process, they may show us by example how to begin, finally, to dismantle mass incarceration for good.

By Sharon Dolovich

Most of Americas 2.3 million prisoners cannot practice social distancing. They are packed into overcrowded facilities, living, sleeping and bathing within feet sometimes inches of each other. Whats more, they lack basics including soap, warm water and clean towels, let alone hand sanitizer. Unless radical action is taken, many thousands of people inside staff and prisoners alike will needlessly die.

The radical action required the only one that can prevent massive unnecessary loss of life is reducing the population of jails and prisons. Efforts in this direction have begun in many jurisdictions. But the steps taken so far are not nearly enough, not by a long shot. All public officials with release authority including sheriffs, prosecutors, judges, corrections officials, parole boards, and governors need to step up and immediately find ways to release as many people as they can before the virus strikes. In doing so, they have the opportunity both to save thousands of lives and begin the long overdue process of ending the costly, inhumane and counterproductive project of mass incarceration.

In the 1970s, the size of the American prisoner population was roughly on par with other Western democracies. Yet starting in the 1980s, the U.S. became the worlds biggest jailer, jamming incarcerated people into dormitories and doubling them up in small cells in open disregard for their health and wellbeing.

There was a time, beginning in the mid-1970s, when federal courts confronting dirty, decrepit and crowded prisons and jails readily found conditions unconstitutional and ordered states and municipalities to reduce their prisoner populations. But when President Clinton joined with Congress to enact the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the power of the federal courts to issue such orders was drastically curtailed.

In the mid-1980s, 43% of the national jail population and 27% of the prison population were housed in facilities with court-ordered population caps. By 2006, these numbers had dropped to 11% and 2% respectively, undermining a key check on overcrowding.

Today, harsh conditions and often grossly inadequate health care leave many prisoners medically compromised. In California prisons alone, an estimated 17,000 people 14% of the states prison population suffer from chronic diseases including cancer, end-stage liver disease, acute asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney conditions requiring dialysis.

Long before COVID-19 arrived, some jurisdictions had made moves towards decarceration. The federal prison population is down 20% from its historic 2014 high of almost 220,000. From 2006 to 2016, New Yorks prison system shed 10% of its population. In 2016, the New Jersey Department of Corrections held 37% fewer people than it did at its height in 1999. Some local jurisdictions have gone still further. Thanks to bail reform and other strategies, the population of Chicagos Cook County Jail has dropped by more than half since 2005. In Rikers Island, the population is down more than two-thirds from a decade ago. Still, these facilities are outliers, and, as the fast-growing number of confirmed cases in both institutions makes crystal clear, even they remain too crowded and too full of people in the highest risk groups to avoid the devastating effects of the virus.

But crisis is opportunity. As the COVID-19 threat has grown, something is happening that was unthinkable just six weeks ago: government officials are letting people out. UCLA School of Law has created a public database to track coronavirus-driven policy changes all over the country, and it shows conscientious officials rediscovering decarceral powers they had forgotten they had. Officials in Fort Worth, Texas have suspended arrests for minor offenses. The jail in Oakland, California sent home 314 low-level offenders. The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the release of anyone in jail on a probation violation or for a minor offense. In West Virginia, prison officials are releasing parole violators and extending weekend furloughs and are actively looking for other levels to pull. Corrections commissioners in Iowa, North Dakota, Rhode Island and other states are seeking to expedite parole releases and to shift people to community placement.

Some officials are driven by fear that prisoners with COVID-19-induced respiratory distress will be sent to local hospitals and monopolize scarce ventilators. But whatever the motive, no one is racing to release anyone dangerous. Nor need they do so to quell this crisis.

For decades, we have incarcerated hundreds of thousands of people who pose little public safety risk. Many people in custody right now committed nonviolent crimes. Many, after decades in prison for serious crimes, are fully ready to be law-abiding and productive citizens. Many more are elderly and sick and need medical or hospice care, not bars and handcuffs.

COVID-19 is already moving through prisons and jails across the country, and confirmed cases are growing exponentially. In Rikers, 374 staff and 273 residents have now tested positive. At Oakdale, a low-security federal prison in southwest Louisiana, at least five prisoners have already died. These numbers, along with all reported positive cases and COVID-19-induced deaths inside, are almost certainly undercounts. In every facility, once the virus takes hold, it will spread quickly. Untold numbers of people will die, effectively sentencing them to the death penalty, whatever their crime.

Every public official with the power to decarcerate should exercise that power now, to the fullest extent. If they do, they will save countless lives, including those of staff. And in the process, they may show us by example how to begin, finally, to dismantle mass incarceration for good.

Sharon Dolovich is a professor of law and director of the UCLA Prison Law and Policy Program. She is currently spearheading the UCLA COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, which is keeping track of developments related to COVID-19 in prisons and jails nationwide. Article originally appeared in the Appeal.

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Cautioning Oswald over Sylvia – The Patriotic Vanguard

Posted: at 7:58 pm


By Abdulai Braima

Dear Guru Oswald Hanciles,

I think your curious attempt to clean up Sylvia and present her in the bright light of her ethnic pedigree is a disservice to what you profess to represent as well as to the Creole people in whose brilliant image you want to define Sylvia.

In the first place, there is nothing inversely or overtly relevant about your unwarranted tumbling into the derogative diction of slave-catcher/seller historicity of OUR (Creoles and non-Creole) collective past with reference to Sylvia Blyden and her mischief!

And, CERTAINLY, Sylvia is not one of the stellar representatives of a glorious line of a people who were/are not just known to be very brainy but who were/are verifiable champions of the fight to instil morality in, especially, public life!

On the contrary, it is my candid opinion that your strenuous attempt to decorate Sylvia and instal her in the hall of fame to which the phalanx of commendable creole notables rightly belong is a disingenuous disservice to our great national patriots, both living and dead.

In some of your writings you sound like a fair-minded dude. I would advise you to stick to your global call for trillion dollar slave trade reparation and your even more plausible advocacy on climate change. Your attempt to launder your ghastly Tolongbo comrades and sell them off as gold is a dead lead sinker! For you might be the only APC elite who does not know that TOLONGBOISM is not about Creole history or Mende-Themne/etc interest. It is about tethered Human Cows eating every blade of stolen grass in their sight. It is about thieves STEALING from every tribe in every region! Simple!

So your syllogisms coated in such utterly divisive ethnic slave-seller phraseology is sadly self-debasing and ultimately deluding!

In actuality, your lengthy preamble not withstanding, you have failed on the most vital counts on which the theme of your post really rested. No, it is not unity. The under-current thrust here is an attempt to showcase why you think Sylvias divisive rants against the current government should be accepted as a call to peace and unity.

I dont know if any other person has, but I directly accused Sylvia of the showboating you referenced. If somebody else saw her that way then that would be a welcomed addition to my candid conclusion.

And speaking of contextualisation I wonder why you didnt reference the shifty statements that provoked the showboating characterisation of your unity champion. WHERE is the unity in any of Sylvias sarcastic jibes?

Okay, let me draw your attention to the context: Sylvia scribbled a nonsensical post in which she tried to disparage Rtd. Brig Kellie Conteh, Hon. Dr. Alpha Wurie and President Julius Maada Bio by patronisingly (even flippantly) describing these three respectable and respected gentlemen as non medical persons leading the fight against the Covid-19 menace.

Her unnecessary emphasis on the non-medicality of our leaders in this battle was a calculated art of mischief that has nothing like Creole heritage and smells nothing of unity in its input or implications. So I challenged her to produce the equivalent TOLONGBO MEDICAL-LADEN leadership line-up during our fight against Ebola and I even went further to educate her on the wrong-headed premise built into her piece suggesting that national leadership should be predicated upon medical qualifications.

Bro, your attempt to sanitise Sylvia may understandably be a pandering to past or present political (or perhaps ethnic) proximity but it certainly has ZERO to do with the trans-Atlantic slave trade era. If anything, her attitude (if not her conduct) is a typical manifestation of the mindless cash-flushed Slave Catchers and the sneaky Uncle Tom House Niggers both of whom may come from different ethnic backgrounds but all of whom belong to the same nation-selling category! Dont you realise that Sylvias butt of attacks has been constantly directed at someone who is a woman who also happens to be APC and who is even more Creole than Sylvia claims to be?

Mayor Aki-Sawyer is miles above Sylvia Blyden in every category that spells decency!

And NO, Sylvia Blyden has not resisted...being overtly or obliquely cowered into silence by the descendants of the slave-catchers and slave-sellers; on the contrary, Sylvia has actively participated, at the highest level, in silencing the descendants of the slaves as well as the descendants of the Slave-sellers.

By pitching her tent with crooks in the Tolongbo camp who banded together to plunder our land, Sylvia actively helped to defile our national institutions and deprive our people.

In your own words, the APC is a party that practised State-sanctioned terrorism. Knowing that you have been inside or around the APC for decades, I can take your word for that.

But the question is: When did you realise that the APC is a terrorist outfit? After the bludgeoning of Bank Governor Sam Bangura? After the murder and burning of love rival Mustapha? After the cold blooded slaughter of Major S.O. Williams? After criminally selling off our rutile resources for 99 years and plundering everything else in sight including a highly lucrative iron-ore mine or after the daylight rape of our national constitution with disdain?

Oswald, do you really want to play the political lawyer to absolve Sylvia and create a saint out of this broken-pen EBK-trusted SEA, from acts that led to sinking our nation? Really? You need an undiluted pipe of pouring bleach!

My brother, Sylvia Blydens sainthood can only receive a crown from those who worshiped in the same den of the APC DEBUL... perhaps in the self same pew in a State House that fed its ranks on Ebola cheques and hard Hajj cash.

What is so Creole about that shameful level of sacrilegious robbery?

Bo do ya unu lef dem Creole out of unu Tolongbo dabaru saful! True true Creole man (or woman) nor mix pan Ojukokoro business.

Nar so me see ahn; en Nar so Ih be!

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Easter: CAN tasks churches on charity to the poor – Vanguard

Posted: at 7:58 pm

CAN President, Dr Samson Ayokunle***Urges govt to be transparent, inclusive in the distribution of COVID-19 palliativesBy Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

As the Christian world over celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Sunday, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has directed churches across the country to make relief packages available to the poor.

This directive is in the light of the lockdown ordered by various governments to stem the spread of Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic in Nigeria.

CAN President, Rev. Dr Samson Ayokunle, in a special Easter message titled: We Shall Have Victory at Last, said: I bring Easter greetings to all Christians in Nigeria and all over the globe.

There is no other time the hope of victory over circumstances of life which Easter brings is more relevant to humans than now when we are forced to celebrate Easter for the first time in over one hundred years in lockdown.

The Coronavirus disruptions of human activities, however, cannot deter us from our joy and victory over all evils which Christs unique resurrection from the dead has brought to us.

Beloved and fellow Nigerians, we shall see the end of all evils challenging us in the name of Jesus including COVID-19.

Let all local churches remember to make relief packages available to the poor among them at this time. This is the time we would know the true church of Christ and those that are just commercial outfits.

Ayokunle commended the Federal and State governments for rising strongly to confront the COVID-19 pandemic but urged them to be transparent and inclusive in the distribution of palliatives to the poor and vulnerable in the society.

He also called on them not to be deterred in confronting the pandemic headlong until normalcy is restored across the nation.

The CAN President said: We further urge the governments to be transparent and inclusive of all regions and religious persuasions in the identification of the poor to which pandemic relief materials and payments are being made available.

Even after the government has explained the mode by which they identified the beneficiaries, many Nigerians, including the National Assemblys members are still really not convinced that the poor around us are the beneficiaries.

We know the government cannot touch every poor in the society for lack of enough resources, but the equal selection of the poor per state with the balance in religious persuasions would have done better justice.

We shall continue to pray for the government for right and inclusive decisions always for our general good.

I am fully persuaded that very soon, coronavirus will become history and we shall all have victory over it.

Let us intensify prayers for a quick recovery for as many that are recuperating from its attacks.


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