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    TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Five U.S. lawmakers are in Taiwan on Friday in a surprise one-day visit, said the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy. The lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan on Thursday night and will meet with senior leaders on the island. No further details were provided about their itinerary. The visit comes as tensions between Taiwan and China have risen to their highest level in decades. Taiwan has been self-ruled since the two sides split during a civil war in 1949, but China considers the island part of its own territory. “Just touched down in the Republic of Taiwan,” tweeted Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina on Thursday night, using the island’s unofficial name. Representatives Mark Takano, D-Calif., Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., Colin Allred, D-Texas., Sara Jacobs, D-Calif. and Mace are all part of the visiting delegation. The trip comes just a few weeks after a group of six Republican lawmakers visited the island. That congressional delegation met with President Tsai Ing-wen, National Security Secretary General Wellington Koo and Foreign...
    Defiant Marine Lt Col Stuart Scheller faces sentencing at a special court martial today following his blistering online attacks on generals he says are responsible for the deadly and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. He is seeking an honorable discharge or a discharge with honorable intent and a letter of reprimand. 'I feel good,' Scheller said as he entered the court building on his own today, and  came out briefly to add: ‘I feel good about everything I said.’ The decorated officer – whose four videos and other social media posts went viral – made an impassioned speech to the hearing on Thursday, saying: ‘This is not the America I know. ‘This is not the America that I have fought so hard to defend the last 17 years.’ Scheller, 40 – who admitted to the hearing that his life has ‘spiraled’ out of control with the breakdown of his marriage and loss of a business he co-owned – added: ‘I was never charged with a false official statement. Because everything I have said is true. ‘If the Marine Corps could have...
    Lt. Colonel Stuart Scheller has been charged with six violations and will face a special court martial for publicly criticizing the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal The attorney for Marine officer Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller says he expects a letter of reprimand for 'speaking the truth' but hopes his client will get an honorable discharge following his court martial Thursday. The colonel was punished over blistering social media attacks on military top brass over the Afghanistan withdrawal fiasco. Scheller, 40, has pleaded guilty to six charges, including contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and was flanked by his defense team, including lawyer Timothy Parlatore as he walked to the courtroom at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Tony Buzbee, Scheller's attorney, spoke to Fox News' Laura Ingraham Thursday night and said that his client's punished for speaking the truth about the withdrawal. 'Lt. Col. Scheller took accountability and he's basically being punished for speaking the truth,' Buzbee said. 'We wrangled and wrangled, as you might imagine, about whether we could ... fight these charges, but [Scheller] made the decision that he would...
    A whistleblower in the U.S. Capitol Police has accused two of the department’s leaders of mishandling intelligence before January 6th and failing to properly react to the storming of the U.S. Capitol. Politico reports that the whistleblower, a former high-ranking USCP official, sent an accusatory letter to Congress last month that called out acting assistant chief Sean Gallagher and assistant chief Yogananda Pittman. The letter claims both department heads declined to share information with other police figures before January 6th, and they chose not to help officers when the siege got underway. “The failures and inactions of these two prior to and on the 6th unquestionably contributed to the death of officers and the serious physical and emotional injury of hundreds of other members of law enforcement,” the unnamed official says in his letter. “It contributed to the death of citizens and caused harm to the reputation of the Congress, the USCP, and other commanders.” The letter goes on to claim that Pittman and Gallagher were “blankly looking at the TV screens showing real-time footage of the officers and officials...
    The State Department said Sunday that meetings it held with the Taliban over the weekend were "candid and professional," as the United States continues to deal with the consequences of its chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan.  State Department Spokesman Ned Price issued a readout on the meetings in Doha, Qatar, with "senior Taliban representatives." The statement said that the "U.S. delegation focused on security and terrorism concerns and safe passage for U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and our Afghan partners, as well as on human rights, including the meaningful participation of women and girls in all aspects of Afghan society." "The two sides also discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people," Price added. "The discussions were candid and professional with the U.S. delegation reiterating that the Taliban will be judged on its actions, not only its words." This is not the first time the Biden administration used similar language to describe the Taliban since the U.S. was forced to abandon its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. National Security Council Spokeswoman Emily Horne said...
    (CNN)Secretary of State Tony Blinken met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and French President Emmanuel Macon in Paris Tuesday amid tensions between the two countries.A senior State Department official described the encounters as "very productive" and forward-looking, but both the US and the French agreed that work still needs to be done to mend the relationship rocked by the Biden administration's new defense partnership with the UK and Australia. This is not "the end of the process by any means, we're still in the early stages of doing that," the official said of repairing the relationship, describing Tuesday's meetings as "serious" in tone."There was not much re-litigation" of the events leading up to the announcement of the security agreement between the US, UK and Australia that enraged the French and cost it billions in a defense contract it had expected to sell to Australia, the official said. The discussions focused on "using this as an opportunity" to develop and implement joint efforts on issues accords the board. Getting ready for the Presidents' meetingRead MoreBlinken is in Paris through...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of U.S. military suicides jumped by 15% last year, fueled by significant increases in the Army and Marine Corps that senior leaders called troubling. They urged more effort to reverse the trend. According to data released Thursday, there were 580 suicides last year compared with 504 the prior year. Of those, the number of suicides by Army National Guard troops jumped by about 35%, from 76 in 2019 to 103 last year, and the active duty Army saw a nearly 20% rise. “The findings are troubling,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. “Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still too high, and the trends are not going in the right direction.” Suicide has long been a problem in the U.S. military. While the causes of suicide are complex and not fully understood, military leaders have previously said they believed the COVID-19 pandemic was adding stress to an already strained force. Troops last year were called to help provide testing and later vaccines while struggling with the virus themselves and among relatives...
    The parents of the Marine officer relieved of duty last month for criticizing leaders who botched America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan took aim at military leaders on Tuesday, calling their son’s incarceration “shameful.” The man, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller Jr., recorded a viral video in August criticizing military and civilian officials for scenes that played out in Afghanistan as American armed forces attempted to leave the region in August. His parents, Cathy Scheller and Stuart Scheller Sr., said in a Tuesday evening interview on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program that he was detained this week for “pretrial detention” after allegedly violating a gag order that prohibited from posting on social media, even though no charges against him had been filed. “Our son called for accountability,” Scheller Sr. said, before making an emotional plea directly to viewers. “Is it OK with you that a 17-year infantry officer that put his life on the line to protect you and protect your children — is it OK with you that he is put in jail and is facing a court-martial? He didn’t murder anyone. He...
    (CNN)Top military officials warned Tuesday that the war in Afghanistan and the war on terror are not over, even if the US military no longer maintains boots on the ground after 20 years of a consistent military presence in the country.Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and head of US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie faced a grilling from lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee who wanted to know how the US military presence ended with images of Afghans clinging onto US military planes, how a drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians and how Americans citizens and Afghans who helped the US during America's longest war got left behind in the evacuation effort.Here are five takeaways from the Senate hearing: The war in Afghanistan and the war on terror are not overBoth Milley and McKenzie, the top US military commander in the Middle East, acknowledged that while no US troops remain on the ground in Afghanistan, neither the war on terror nor the war in Afghanistan are over. Read MoreWhen...
    The U.S. Marine who went viral after speaking out against the leaders of the military for the flawed Afghan withdrawal is currently in the brig awaiting a hearing. Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller is “currently in pre-trial confinement in the Regional Brig for Marine Corps Installations East aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune pending an Article 32 preliminary hearing,” Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, told Task & Purpose , who first reported Scheller’s detention. AIR FORCE AND RAYTHEON CONDUCT SUCCESSFUL HYPERSONIC MISSILE TEST “The time, date, and location of the proceedings have not been determined," he added. "Lt. Col. Scheller will be afforded all due process.” Scheller first gained notoriety last month when he posted a video on social media calling for accountability from military leaders for the way the Afghan withdrawal occurred, including the ISIS-K terror attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghan nationals. "The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down," he said...
    As the Senate Armed Services Committee gets ready to grill military leaders about the Afghanistan debacle on Tuesday, multiple recent Department of Defense officials tell Fox News that an internal focus on left-wing cultural battles likely distracted top brass from Afghanistan planning and military readiness. One former senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that under President Biden, top officials held meetings on "culture war" issues every week, and sometimes more. The roster of those attending included Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the secretaries of all the military departments, that official said.  "They never met once on readiness. But they met every week on transgender issues, extremism, racism, sexual assault, sexual harassment, et cetera," a former official said, adding that that the focus likely distracted from Afghanistan planning. BIDEN BREAKS PROMISE TO ‘STAY’ IN AFGHANISTAN UNTIL EVERY AMERICAN EVACUATED  "There's only 168 hours in a week. They were spending all their time on these things, particularly early on. Yes, they were distracted," an official said. The U.S. military was slow to adjust its withdrawal plans even as...
    Photo by STAFF/AFP via Getty Images. The United States killed three senior Al Qaeda leaders in a drone strike in northwest Syria on Monday. “U.S. forces conducted a kinetic counterterrorism strike near Idlib, Syria, today, on a senior Al Qaeda leader. Initial indications are that we struck the individual we were aiming for, and there are no indications of civilian casualties as a result of the strike,” said U.S. Central Command in a statement. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby reiterated this statement during Monday’s press briefing. Abu al-Bara al-Tunisi and Abu Hamza al-Yemeni, both from the Al Qaeda-affiliated Hurras Al-Din group, were reportedly killed in the strike. The former was a senior Al Qaeda commander in Syria. Until Monday, he had survived two previous assassination attempts in 2020, according to the Middle East Institute’s Charles Lister. The name of the third senior leader is publicly unknown. Sources believe the targeted vehicle was carrying 3 senior Huras al-Din leaders: 1. Abu al-Bara al-Tunisi 2. Abu Hamza al-Yemeni 3. Unknown https://t.co/4jVVO7DhVx — Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) September 20, 2021 The vehicle was...
    President BidenJoe BidenNewsom easily beats back recall effort in California Second senior official leaving DHS in a week Top Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal MORE will virtually convene world leaders on Friday in the hopes of raising climate ambitions ahead of a major U.N. conference. The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that the president will reconvene the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) — an Obama-era forum meant to enhance dialogue between major economies on climate.  A senior administration official told reporters that it would be a leader-level conference but declined to specify who the participants will be. The Obama-era program included economies such as The U.S., the European Union, China, India and Australia.  It was reported this week that the U.S. and European Union had agreed to cut their emissions by 30 percent and that this could be announced in line with the forum.  The senior official described the methane push as a “collective global goal” in a call with reporters.  The official also said that the leaders’ meeting will not be livestreamed and that...
    (CNN)Two senior leaders in the US Food and Drug Administration's vaccine review office are stepping down, even as the agency works toward high-profile decisions around Covid-19 vaccine approvals, authorizations for younger children and booster shots.The retirements of Dr. Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Philip Krause, deputy director of the office, were announced in an internal agency email sent on Tuesday and shared with CNN by the FDA.In the email, CBER Director Dr. Peter Marks said Gruber will retire on October 31, and Krause is leaving in November. Marks thanked Gruber for her leadership throughout efforts to authorize and approve Covid-19 vaccines, and Krause for serving in a "key role in our interactions to address critical vaccine-related issues with our public health counterparts around the world." Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness against severe disease has not dropped much, CDC saysMarks said in the email the search for the next director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review would begin imminently and that he would serve as...
                      by Debra Heine  A Marine commander was relieved of his duties after he demanded accountability from top military brass in a video posted on social media after the deadly terrorist attack in Kabul Afghanistan. On Thursday, a suicide bomber detonated at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, killing 170 Afghans, and 13 American service members, most of whom were Marines. Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, an advanced Infantry Training Battalion commander at Camp LeJeune in Jacksonville, N.C., announced that he had been let go on his LinkedIn page. “To all my friends across the social networks. I have been relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence as of 14:30 today,” he wrote. Scheller, who said he’s been in the Marine Infantry for 17 years, said he made the video because of the “growing discontent and contempt” he was feeling for the inept senior leaders of the U.S. military and their fatally flawed foreign policy decisions. He said one of the Marines killed in the suicide bombing was a friend...
    The U.S. Marine relieved of his command for calling out his superiors over the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal that led to the deaths of 13 service members said Sunday he was officially resigning.  In a tell-all video posted on social media, Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller acknowledged he was sacrificing a comfortable retirement by criticizing the way the withdrawal was handled.  "I could stay in the Marine Corps for another three years, but I don’t think that’s the path I’m on. I’m resigning my commission as a United States Marine, effective now," Scheller said. "I am forfeiting retirements, all entitlements, I don’t want a single dollar. I don’t want any money from the VA. I don’t want any VA benefits [even though] I’m sure I’m entitled 100%."  Scheller ignited a firestorm of controversy Thursday for posting a less than five-minute video in which he went after top military brass for not taking responsibility over an ISIS attack in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of 11 Marines, an Army soldier, a Navy corpsman and 169 Afghans.  "I'm not saying we need to...
    A marine passes a bottle of water to a refugee in the middle of the evacuation process from the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. Photo: Isaiah Campbell / US Marine Corps / . A lieutenant colonel of the United States Marine Corps was relieved of his duties this Friday after a video on Facebook this Thursday hold the top military leadership responsible for the deaths of 13 marines in the attack on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, this Thursday. Stuart Scheller questioned Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and others with more power than him in the Armed Forces for not raising their hands and accepting responsibility for the attack claimed by ISIS-K that left 170 dead and another 150 injured. “The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marines on the battlefield left someone behind. People are upset that their senior leaders left them behind, and none of them are raising their hands and accepting responsibility or saying, ‘We screwed this up,’ ”Scheller is heard saying on the recording...
    A US Marine was relieved of his command for publicly demanding senior US military brass take “accountability” for overseeing the execution of the pullout from Afghanistan after 13 troops died in Thursday’s suicide bombing.  “I have been relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence...”  Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller posted on his social media page.  4A US Marine was relieved of his command for publicly demanding senior US military brass take “accountability” for overseeing the execution of the pullout from Afghanistan after 13 troops died in Thursday’s suicide bombingCredit: Stuart Scheller/Facebook 4Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller posted a video testimonial demanding "honesty, integrity and accountability from my senior leaders"Credit: Stuart Scheller/Facebook RESPECTS DECISION The soldier didn’t appear to be spiteful in the least.  “My chain of command is doing exactly what I would do… if I were in their shoes.” On Thursday, ISIS-K took credit for sending in a suicide bomber into the Kabul airport security gate who detonated a device that slain at least 170 people dead and wounded 155.  The blast rocked Kabul leaving...
    An active duty Marine Corps lieutenant colonel was relieved of his duties Friday after publicly demanding leadership take accountability for the deadly disaster in Afghanistan.  Lt. Col Stuart Scheller called out Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and others for not 'raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, "We messed this up."'   'The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down,' Scheller said in a nearly five-minute video posted on Facebook and LinkedIn.  'People are upset because their senior leaders let them down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, "We messed this up."'  Marine Corp Lt. Col. Stuart Steller said in a widely shared video that military leaders need to take accountability for botched, fatal evacuation out of Afghanistan  Follow up post to the video where Scheller said he was relived of his duty The video has been shared on Facebook over 23,000 times by Friday evening and...
    An active-duty Marine commander was relieved of his duties Friday for a video post he made criticizing senior leadership in the wake of the Kabul attack that killed 13 U.S. service members.  Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller posted a video to Facebook Thursday in which he asked senior civilian and military leadership to own up to mistakes they made in the course of the withdrawal in Afghanistan. The Facebook post came after it had been confirmed that a number of Marines were among those killed in the suicide bomb attack in Kabul. Scheller said one of the Marines killed was someone close to him.  "People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting responsibility and saying we messed this up," Scheller said in the video.  He criticized Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the nation's top military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley for testifying that the Afghan National Security Forces would hold and for allowing the closure of Bagram Airfield, forcing evacuations to go through Kabul's Hamid Karzai...
    The Marine officer who recorded a viral video criticizing senior military and civilian leaders for their failure in Afghanistan said Friday he had been relieved of duty. According to Politico, Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said in a statement published on Facebook that was “relieved for cause based on lack of trust and confidence as of 14:30 today” and added, “My chain of command is doing exactly what I would do … if I were in their shoes. I appreciate the opportunities [Advanced Infantry Training Battalion] Command provided.” Scheller, a 17-year Marine Corps veteran, published a video on Thursday that quickly went viral for taking aim at leaders for the situation in Kabul. “You can see open-source reporting that there was an explosion and some people were killed,” Scheller explained in his message. “I know through my inside channels that one of the people that was killed was someone that I have a personal relationship with. I won’t go into more detail because the families are still being notified. “I’m not making this video because it’s potentially an emotional time,”...
    "I'm not saying we need to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, 'Hey, it's a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we evacuate everyone?' Did anyone do that? And when you didn't think to do that, did anyone raise their hand and say, 'We completely messed this up?'" Scheller read an Aug. 18 letter from Gen. David H. Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, regarding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Scheller disagreed vehemently with the message of the letter and blamed "senior leaders" for letting the country down. "The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down," Scheller stated. "That service member always rose to the occasion and has done extraordinary things. People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying 'we messed this up.'" Scheller admitted in the video that he has...
    Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller announced Friday that he had been “relieved for cause” after he posted a video demanding accountability on Afghanistan. Scheller shared a Facebook post saying that, as of 14:30 on Friday, he had been relieved of duty — and he noted that he would have taken the same action if he were in the position of his superior officers. (RELATED: ‘I Am Willing To Throw It All Away To … Demand Accountability’: 17-Year Marine Veteran Risks Career In Viral Video) “To all my friends across the social networks. I have been relieved for cause based on a lack of trust and confidence as of 14:30 today,” Scheller began. “My chain of command is doing exactly what I would do… if I were in their shoes. I appreciate the opportunities AITB command provided,” Scheller continued, saying that he would not be offering any other statements or interviews until he had officially left the Marine Corps. “America has many issues… but it’s my home… it’s where my three sons will become men. America is still the light...
    Marine Lt. Gen. Stuart Scheller is demanding that senior U.S. leaders hold themselves accountable for actions made during the U.S. military's withdrawal from Afghanistan that led to the deaths of 13 service members. Officials confirmed to Fox News on Thursday that ten Marines and two Army soldiers, as well as one Navy corpsman, were killed in explosions near Kabul's airport Thursday. Another 169 Afghans were killed, according to two officials who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. BIDEN TOLD ANOTHER KABUL ATTACK IS ‘LIKELY,’ WHITE HOUSE SAYS: LIVE UPDATES Scheller, a father of three who has been in the USMC Infantry for 17 years, mentioned senior military leaders including Marine Commandant Gen. David H. Berger, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley, whom he said are "supposed to advise." "I'm not saying we need to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying, did any of you throw your rank on the table and say, ‘Hey, it’s a bad idea to evacuate Bagram Airfield, a strategic airbase, before we...
    A Marine officer went viral after he posted a video claiming senior U.S. military and civilian leaders are not "accepting accountability" for the handling of the chaotic troop withdrawal and evacuation in Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Stu Scheller posted the video to social media just hours after a suicide bomber blast on Thursday killed 13 U.S. troops in Kabul, wounded at least 18 U.S. personnel, and killed at least 113 Afghan civilians near the gates of the Hamid Karzai International Airport. "The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down," Scheller said in the video. "People are upset because their senior leaders let them down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, 'We messed this up.'" "Potentially all those people did die in vain if we don't have senior leaders that own up and raise their hand and say, 'We did not do this well in the end,'" Scheller said. "Without that, we just keep repeating the same mistakes." "Not making this...
    Marine infantry officer and battalion commander Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said in a video that he was willing to “throw” away his military career as he demanded accountability from senior leaders over the withdrawal from Afghanistan. “People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying ‘we messed this up,” Scheller said in the video posted Thursday on Facebook and LinkdIn that has since gone viral. The comments were noted by Task and Purpose. “If an O-5 battalion commander has the simplest live fire incident, EO complaint. Boom. Fired,” he added. “But we have a secretary of defense that testified to Congress in May that the Afghan National Security Forces could withstand the Taliban advance. We have Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs — who the commandant is a member of that — who’s supposed to advise on military policy. We have a Marine combatant commander. All of these people are supposed to advise.” “I’m not saying we’ve got to be in Afghanistan forever, but I am saying:...
    An active-duty Marine blasted his own commanders for failing to speak out about the catastrophic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. In a video posted to his own Facebook page on Thursday, Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller said, “I’ve been in the Marine infantry for 17 years. I started my tour with Victor 1-8, that’s the current unit that’s doing perimeter security, dealing with the mess that’s going on there” at the airport in the Afghan capital of Kabul, where an explosion that day killed at least 13 U.S. service members – the deadliest attack the U.S. military has experienced in Afghanistan since Aug. 6, 2011 and the first casualties of U.S. troops there since Feb. 8, 2020. He went on to say: You can see open-source reporting that there was an explosion and some people were killed. I know through my inside channels that one of the people that was killed was someone that I have a personal relationship with. I won’t go into more detail because the families are still being notified. I’m not making this video because it’s potentially an...
    WASHINGTON - The State Department on Friday announced the addition of five alleged Islamist militants to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, requiring the blocking of any ownership or interests in U.S. properties they hold. The designations also expose to possible U.S. sanctions individuals or foreign financial institutions who engage in certain transactions with the five. They include Bonomade Machude Omar, the senior military commander of Islamic State's affiliate in Mozambique, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. Omar led a group of extremists who killed dozens of people in an attack on the Amarula Hotel in the town of Palma in March, Blinken said. He also is responsible for attacks elsewhere in Mozambique and in Tanzania, Blinken said. Sidan Hitta and Salem Ould al-Hasan, senior leaders of Mali-based al-Qaida-linked Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, also were designated, as were Ali Mohamed Rage and Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, leaders of the al-Shabab group of Somalia, Blinken said. 
    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is “certainly concerned” about the lack of diversity among the senior ranks of the military, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Wednesday. “He’s certainly concerned about the diversity at the senior levels of the department. And this is not just senior enlisted levels, but senior officer levels, admirals, and generals,” Kirby said at a Pentagon press conference. “The numbers are not very high.” “The secretary believes this has got to be a concerted effort, an everyday effort, and it’s got to be led. If leaders across the department don’t take this on as a personal commitment, it’s not going to change,” he said. He added: He knows it’s not going to change overnight. That doesn’t mean you slack up on the pressure. You don’t continue to try to get this right. But he understands that this is going to take time to grow that kind of leadership in the kind of talent. But he also believes there’s a sense of urgency here. The time is now to start to grow that talent and develop that talent...
    Originally Published by: Move over sky penis, we’ve got a sea penis now Biden: US troops likely not out of Afghanistan by May Special Operations Command chief: Afghans need US troops to counter Taliban The Defense Department’s independent review commission on sexual assault held its first meeting on Wednesday, announcing 13 members who will make recommendations to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on how to change the military’s culture around sexual assault, how to make itself more accountable and how it can better prevent assaults and support survivors. Will DoD implement those recommendations ― particularly those that may up-end centuries of military tradition ― from a panel of legal, military and advocacy experts? That is the main question, more than a decade after senior Pentagon leadership began publicly declaring that they are taking sexual assault very seriously. “I mean, certainly the IRC is hopeful that the secretary of defense and the president, ultimately, will adopt our recommendations,” Lynn Rosenthal, the commission’s lead, told reporters on Wednesday. “But I can’t say what the outcome might be.”...
    Northwell Health has two new senior leaders to help move the company forward in the coming years. On Thursday, March 25, the health leader appointed Maxine Carrington as senior vice president and chief human resources officer to lead the people strategy and support the needs of the 75,000-member organization, said Jason Molinet, senior director of media relations. Carrington has served the health system since 2008 and succeeds Joe Moscola whose steps into a new role as executive vice president of enterprise management. “Transformation and innovation have always been critical to Northwell’s success," said  Michael Dowling, president, and CEO of Northwell Health. "In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken a number of steps to reinvent ourselves and become a more effective, productive, and consumer-responsive organization.”  Carrington is a graduate of the University of Albany with a bachelor’s degree in political science and Africana studies and earned a master’s degree in higher education administration and policy. She also holds a Juris Doctor from New York Law School.  Moscola’s expanded leadership role encompasses several critical functions that drive the organization, including human resources, information technology, facilities and construction, real estate,...
    (CNN) — In a pointed rebuke, the Pentagon and several senior members of the U.S. military called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday for a sexist segment in which he mocked women serving in the armed forces. Carlson, who is effectively the face of Fox and hosts the top show on the right-wing channel, ridiculed President Joe Biden on Tuesday for saying that the military had created uniforms to fit women properly, including flight suits for those who are pregnant, and updated requirements for hairstyles. “So we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits,” Carlson snarked. “Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military.” “While China’s military becomes more masculine as it’s assembled the world’s largest navy, our military, as Joe Biden says, needs to become more feminine,” he went on. Carlson’s comments have prompted  backlash from some of the most senior members of the U.S. military, who took to Twitter on Wednesday and Thursday to call Carlson out for what they described as harmful and divisive rhetoric. Speaking to reporters...
    (CNN)Despite promising to punish senior Saudi leaders while on the campaign trail, President Joe Biden declined to apply sanctions to the one the US intelligence community determined is responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.The choice not to punish Prince Mohammed directly puts into sharp relief the type of decision-making that becomes more complicated for a president versus a candidate, and demonstrates the difficulty in breaking with a troublesome ally in a volatile region.On Friday, Biden's administration released an unclassified intelligence report on Khashoggi's death, an action his predecessor refused to take as he downplayed US intelligence. The report from the director of national intelligence says the crown prince, known as MBS, directly approved the killing of Khashoggi. But while a sanctions list from the Treasury Department listed a former deputy intelligence chief and the Saudi Royal Guard's rapid intervention force, the crown prince wasn't listed. US intelligence report finds Saudi Crown Prince responsible for approving operation that killed KhashoggiTwo administration officials said there was a concern that sanctioning MBS was never really...
    The organization responsible for managing the flow of electricity from producers to 26 million Texas customers removed the names of its board members from its website. The removal follows threats against the leadership of the organization. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) removed the names of its Board of Directors from its website, according to a report from KTRK ABC13 in Houston. A spokesman for the group said the removal is due to threats being received from board members and senior leadership. KTRK reported ERCOT removed the names and replaced them with the term, “Vacant.” Officials responded and said no one has resigned from the organization. They just took the names down because of threats over the anger about widespread long-lasting power outages during the historic winter storm. At the peak, more than 4 million Texans lost electricity during the storm. Some outages lasted for days. According to PowerOutage.us, there are currently nearly 2.4 million Texas power outages. That represents nearly 10 percent of ERCOT’s 26 million customers statewide. ABC13’s Gina Gaston asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott if ERCOT...
    February 7, 2021 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Setting strategy and keeping the organization on track to meet its goals is critical for a leader. As a matter of fact, it’s probably what any leader will be evaluated against at the end of the year. But a true leader needs to take a wider view of their responsibilities, one that encompasses the development of other leaders within the organization – one of a leader’s most important jobs. Why? Because as a senior leader, you might be setting strategy, but to execute that strategy, you need your team of managers. They are the ones that have direct contact with both your clients and the majority of your team members. You can’t accomplish your goals without them. Related: 6 Leadership Best Practices to Empower Your Workforce Got any change initiatives coming up? A large-scale digital transformation project perhaps? A big reason change initiatives fail is because of a lack of skilled leadership throughout the organization to help see it...
    A man snuck into Joint Base Andrews Thursday and boarded a C-40 plane in the 89th Airlift Wing, which houses Air Force One and a fleet of other planes frequently used by the President, Vice President, Cabinet secretaries, and other senior government and military leaders.  The intruder, who was charged with trespassing, had two warrants for his arrest for theft and was handed over to local law enforcement. He may have been suffering from mental issues at the time and "did not seem right," according to an Air Force official.  A man snuck into Joint Base Andrews and boarded a C40 plane, shown here, which is used to transports senior government and military leaders. (United States Air Force) BIDEN ADMINISTRATION VOWS TO FREE AMERICANS BEING HELD HOSTAGE ABROAD "The security of our installation is paramount," Col. Roy Oberhaus, the vice wing commander of the 316th Wing at Joint Base Andrews, said Friday. "This was a serious breach of security and Joint Base Andrews is investigating the incident to determine how this happened so it doesn’t happen again." The C-40 plane...
    A New York City high school student went viral this week after accusing local politicians of giving up on students by not allowing them to return to school amid the coronavirus pandemic. "I feel like they gave up on us ... they looked at the public school kids & said you know what? They really aren't that important,” the high school senior said in the video posted by the Twitter account @KeepNYCSchools1 on Wednesday. .@NYCMayor @UFT A Harlem public h.s. senior & athlete from the Bronx at our City Hall rally this morning: "I feel like they gave up on us...they looked at the public school kids & said you know what? They really aren't that important."#KeepNYCSchoolsOpen #openschools pic.twitter.com/b7Lele6s81— #KeepNYCSchoolsOpen (@KeepNYCSchools1) February 3, 2021 The student said he attends a public academy in Harlem and added the past year has been “really tough” on him as a student, an athlete, and a person. “It really hurts because your senior year is your most important year,” the student said, adding that he has several friends who have had trouble applying...
    New York : General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Photo: Drew Angerer / . The Army Joint Chiefs of Staff charged that the violent acts on Capitol Hill were an “assault on the constitutional process” of the United States and were against the law. It is the first time that the leaders of the Armed Forces express themselves with movements of this type, in this case against supporters of the president Donald trump or MAGA followers. “The violent riot in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the United States Congress, the Capitol Building and our constitutional process,” indicates the seven military leaders including the top US general, the president of the State. Major Ensemble, the general Mark milley. The memorandum was sent to the troops, as a way of regroup support in favor of the nation. “The rights to freedom of expression and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection”, reported . about the memo. They also remind the...
    The U.S. Agency for Global Media announced Tuesday that Stephen Yates will be the next president of Radio Free Asia and Victoria Coates will lead the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.   Yates, who was an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney, replaces acting president Parameswaran Ponnudurai.   “In the free world’s struggle against tyranny and aggression, one of our best tools is factual and undaunted journalism,” Yates said in a statement.  “RFA’s role in telling the truth on behalf of those subject to censorship is a crucial mission that I intend to empower.”   USAGM CEO Michael Pack cited former work “on Asian issues in many senior government positions” and fluency in Mandarin among Yates’ credentials, and said the United States needs to counter “misinformation and disinformation disseminated by repressive regimes, most notably China.”   Coates was a longtime security adviser to President Donald Trump but left that position earlier this year to become a senior adviser at the Department of Energy with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa.   In a statement announcing her selection,...
    Suspected Russian hackers infiltrated dozens of email accounts at the Treasury Department and broke into systems used by the department's highest-ranking officials, a Senator briefed on the matter said Monday.  Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, of Oregon, provided new details of the hack following a briefing to the Senate Finance Committee by the IRS and Treasury Department. Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the Treasury Department doesn’t know all of the activity the hackers engaged in or precisely what information was stolen.   Though there is no indication that taxpayer data was compromised, the hack ‘appears to be significant,’ Wyden continued. Wyden said the hackers broke into systems in the Treasury Department’s Departmental Offices division, home to the highest-ranking officials, and infiltrated a dozens of department email accounts.  In addition, the breach appears to involve the theft of encryption keys, Wyden said. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (above), of Oregon, provided new details of the hack following a briefing to the Senate Finance Committee by the IRS and Treasury Department The Treasury Department doesn’t know all of the...
    Washington (CNN)The Pentagon is expected to receive "just under 44,000 doses" of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine early next week, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery announced Wednesday, with the first doses going to medical personnel and a select number of senior leaders."In the coming days, we expect the department to receive its first allotment of the vaccine," McCaffery told reporters at the Pentagon.The initial allocation of doses will only cover a fraction of the Pentagon's workforce of about 1.3 million active-duty troops and more than 2.8 million total employees.The prioritization plan for Defense Department personnel, CNN reported on Tuesday, will begin with medical personnel and then "critical national capabilities," including the nuclear deterrence force, homeland defense forces, select Special Operations Command and Cyber Command units, and "key national strategic leadership."The Pentagon also confirmed that a small number of senior leaders would be among the first to receive the vaccine, an action that is partly being taken in order to help convince military personnel that it is safe.Read MoreBidens trailblazing Pentagon pick set to cap a 40-year Army...
    (CNN)The Pentagon has drafted a list of the groups that it will provide the coronavirus vaccine to first, prioritizing health care workers and then "critical national capabilities," which will include the country's nuclear forces, elite military units and senior Pentagon leaders, according to two defense officials familiar with the list.Officials have said that the Defense Department will receive a tranche of the vaccine and has been delegated responsibility to decide who will receive it. The military is expected to initially receive significantly fewer vaccine doses than there are military and civilian personnel working for the US Department of Defense, meaning they have to prioritize who will get the initial doses.The list of senior leaders to receive the vaccine will likely include acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. The senior leaders are being prioritized due to their seniority but they are also at higher risk from the virus because they are older than the average military service member. Miller is 55 and Milley 62.Read MoreBiden introduces key health team members...
    The U.S Army dismissed or suspended 14 senior officers Tuesday and ordered policy changes following a sweeping independent investigation into sexual harassment and violence at the base, including the murder of a female soldier earlier this year.   At a Pentagon news conference, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said an independent civilian review board found widespread problems at the Army’s second-largest installation, including failures to investigate crimes and lack of confidence in sex crimes prevention that led to a permissive environment for sexual assault and harassment. McCarthy told reporters the issues at Fort Hood, including a spate of killings and disappearances and a higher level of crime than at any other Army installation, are “directly related to leadership failures.” McCarthy said leaders drive culture and he was gravely disappointed these leaders “failed to effectively create a climate that treated all soldiers with dignity and respect.” Fort Hood has faced intense scrutiny after several recent incidents, including the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillén, who was killed by another soldier in April. Her remains were found in a shallow grave in June after...
    By DUSAN STOJANOVIC and ELENA BECATOROS, Associated Press BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — After the two most senior Serbian Orthodox Church leaders died within a month after testing positive with the coronavirus, health experts and even hardcore believers are starting to worry. The spread of the virus within the largest religious group in the Balkans is getting more alarming by the day. A senior Orthodox Church priest, who took part in the prayers at the funeral of Serbian Patriarch Irinej on Sunday when most of the preventive measures against the coronavirus were ignored, has tested positive for COVID-19, Serbia’s state TV said Monday. Bishop David is the latest person among the top clergy to get the virus, raising concerns in the Balkans that the Orthodox Church could be helping to spread the virus with its doctrine that true believers can't get infected during Holy Communion and other church services. But the two most senior Serb religious leaders — the patriarch and Bishop Amfilohije — died after COVID-19 complications. They both downplayed the dangers of the pandemic, avoided wearing masks in public...
    BELGRADE – After the two most senior Serbian Orthodox Church leaders died within a month after testing positive with the coronavirus, health experts and even hardcore believers are starting to worry. The spread of the virus within the largest religious group in the Balkans is getting more alarming by the day. A senior Orthodox Church priest, who took part in the prayers at the funeral of Serbian Patriarch Irinej on Sunday when most of the preventive measures against the coronavirus were ignored, has tested positive for COVID-19, Serbia’s state TV said Monday. Bishop David is the latest person among the top clergy to get the virus, raising concerns in the Balkans that the Orthodox Church could be helping to spread the virus with its doctrine that true believers can't get infected during Holy Communion and other church services. But the two most senior Serb religious leaders — the patriarch and Bishop Amfilohije — died after COVID-19 complications. They both downplayed the dangers of the pandemic, avoided wearing masks in public and Amfilohije described large religious gatherings as “God’s vaccine.” ...
    EUROPEAN leaders will order up a raft of new emergency No Deal plans tomorrow after Emmanuel Macron vowed to defy No 10 over fishing.  The bloc's 27 capitals are set to throw down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson and take a hard line in the hope of shocking him into late concessions.  2European leaders will order emergency No Deal Brexit plansCredit: AFP 2French President Emmanuel Macron won't budge on fishing rights in the UKCredit: AP:Associated Press And with negotiations stalled France is sticking to its guns over demands for access to UK waters that is almost as generous as it enjoys now. With talks heading down to the wire, gloomy diplomatic sources said there was "no reason for optimism" with the two sides "still quite far apart".  They added negotiations can only continue for a few more days into the middle of next week before "time will get the better of us".  Brussels sources said to expect "strong words" from a slew of leaders after today's video summit warning it's time to brace for No Deal.  A senior EU diplomat...
    The Morandi bridge in one of the photos symbolic of the tragedy in which 43 people died. (REUTERS / Stefano Rellandini / file) The Italian financial police announced the house arrest of three former leaders of Autostrade per l’Italia, subsidiary of the group Atlantia of the Benetton family, in the framework of an investigation on the collapse in 2018 of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, which caused the death of 43 people. Among them is the former CEO, Giovanni Castellucci, who was also a leader of Atlantia. The arrests occurred at the request of the Genoa prosecutor, who is investigating the event occurred on August 15, 2018, according to local media. In addition to Castellucci, the former maintenance managers and central operational director, Michele Donferri Mitelli Y Paolo Berti, respectively. An injunction order has also been issued against the current directors Stefano marigliani, Paolo Strazzullo Y Massimo miliani. FILE PHOTO: Former CEO of Atlantia Giovanni Castellucci (REUTERS / Alessandro Garofalo / archive) The investigation, begun a year ago, focuses on the analysis of the...
    U.S. military, intelligence, and law enforcement officials were briefed last month about a threat against the Pentagons most senior leaders — at home and while traveling, NBC News reported. Citing five unnamed officials, NBC News reported the briefings suggested the still-active threat might be potential retaliation for the militarys assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in January — and it targets military leaders involved in the decision. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been traveling in the Middle East and South Asia this week, but the trip was shrouded in even more secrecy than usual, suggesting a possible security concern, NBC News reported. The threat briefings of FBI, CIA and military officials took place after an incident Sept. 22 involving a senior leader at the Defense Department, NBC News reported. The senior leader was followed by a vehicle with Virginia license plates, the driver of which was identified as an Iranian national, NBC News reported. At times, this person drove very aggressively, according to a Pentagon report, the news outlet reported. The Pentagon and the FBI disagree about whether it was...
    Senior U.S. officials revealed Thursday that security threats have been made against top Pentagon authorities not only when traveling outside the U.S., but when on American soil.   Frist reported by NBC News on Thursday and verified for Fox News by a senior Department of Defense representative, security officials believe the threats made could be linked to the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani by American forces in January, though definitive links could not reportedly be made. The names of the Pentagon officials were not released, but they are believed to have been senior leadership involved in the operation that oversaw the takedown of Soleimani. Military leaders have also reportedly been targeted. FROM PANDEMIC TO POSTAL PROBLEMS, OVERSEAS VOTERS WORRY THEIR US PRESIDENTIAL BALLOTS WON'T GET COUNTED A person familiar with the threats told Fox News that U.S. concerns of Iran harming American officials, extends to civilian officials as well. U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement were briefed last month alerting them to the threats. The FBI, CIA and military officials first met on Sept. 22 following an incident that reportedly involved a senior Department...
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