Lima Charlie’s U.S./D.C. Week in Review – July 23

23rd of July – Lima Charlie News U.S./Washington End-of-Week Briefing:

| #PrayForMunich #OffeneTür

On JUL22, just before 6 PM, shots rang out at the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum #Munich shopping center, the second attack in Bavaria in less than a week, killing 10 people, and wounding at least 21. German police are treating the incident as a suspected terrorist attack, although no group has claimed responsibility.

At a press conference early Saturday, Polizei Munchen police chief Hubertus Andrä said the gunman, who committed suicide with a gunshot to the head, was an 18-year old German-Iranian from Munich. Motive remains unclear. The gunman was captured on video telling bystanders, “I am German,” and shouting hateful messages about “foreigners.”

Friday night Munich had declared a state of emergency, with German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier stating: “We are following the news from Munich with horror. What is behind this hideous act is not completely clear, we still have conflicting leads. But already this much is clear, we will have to mourn for many fatalities and injured.”

Initially, three gunmen were reportedly on the loose, but by early morning Saturday, police announced it was probably the work of the single gunman whose body was found less than a mile from the mall.

Residents of Munich have banded together in solidarity, even using the hashtag #Offentür, meaning open door, to offer their homes to people in need of a safe location off the streets.

JUL22 marks the 5 year anniversary of the Breivik killings, when, in 2011 Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Breivik brutally murdered 77 people in Norway, mostly teenagers attending a summer camp, claiming he was saving Norway and Europe from Muslims and multiculturalism. Breivik, now in prison, released a 1,500-page manifesto and YouTube video before the massacre.

As Lima Charlie continues to monitor the unfolding situation in Munich, we send our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of this tragedy.

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#BatonRouge #Dallas

On JUL18, #HillaryClinton spoke at the #NAACP annual convention, in the wake of recent police shootings of young black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and law enforcement assassinations in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Speaking about #MontrellJackson, the 32-year-old 10-year police veteran who was killed in #Louisiana on Sunday, Clinton remarked, “He wrote so honestly and powerfully about the struggle of being black and wearing blue in today’s America.” She quoted a tweet Jackson posted just days before he was fatally shot:

“Please don’t let hate infect your heart. I’m working in these streets, so any protesters, officers, friends, family, or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer, I got you.”

Clinton continued, “That … is the strength of America, men like Montrell Jackson. Despite all our challenges, that spirit of love and community must guide us still. We have to heal the divides that remain, make the United States what it should be; stronger and fairer, more opportunity for every one of our people.”

While Clinton spent a great deal of time taking shots at her GOP opponent in the race to the 2016 Presidency, she channeled part of this same energy during her speech toward detailing her plans to reform the US criminal justice system:

“When the 24-hour news cycle moves on, I won’t. This is too important. This goes to the heart of who we are. This is about our character as Americans. That’s why we also need to fix the crisis of mass incarceration, eliminate the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine, dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that starts in school and diverts too many African-American kids out of school and into the criminal justice system, instead of giving them the education they deserve to have… Encourage everyone, everyone we know to stand up and be counted in this November election. As Dr. King said, our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter. None of us — none of us can afford to be silent with so much at stake.”

#BLMBBQ

A #BlackLivesMatter protest becomes a Police-led barbeque in Wichita, #Kansas, in order to ease tensions in the community between black Americans and police. Activist A.J. Bohannon had organized more than 1,000 BLM protesters to march the streets of Wichita on Sunday, until he received a call from the new police chief with an idea for a barbeque, in which they would have an open dialogue about concerns.

The group gathered in a wooded park where the police department cooked and served up burgers. The officers played basketball with kids, and one officer did the “whip and the nae nae” and the “Cha Cha Slide” in a crowd of dancing girls, featured in a video that went viral. They called it the First Steps Community Cookout, a nod to what they see as the seeds of an ongoing effort to ease the tensions heightened by the recent shootings of and by police officers. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay started the event by taking questions from residents for 45 minutes.

On Monday, at least 13 people were arrested after protesters holding #BlackLivesMatter signs blocked all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in downtown Richmond, Virginia, local media reported. They also draped a Black Lives Matter sign on an overpass.

Deputy Steve Drew said police arrested the protesters after they refused to budge, and that many protesters were white, the purpose of the demonstration being to demonstrate white people “putting their lives on the line for black people.” Media outlets reported that traffic was backed up for several miles.

#RNC2016 #GOP #RNCinCLE


For Lima Charlie’s Official Coverage of #RNC2016 check out our Convention Coverage from US Marine veteran Correspondents Joshua Gates and Cy Derringer: LC Election 2016


Day 1 RNC Highlights

On JUL20, the “Make America Great Again Convention” kicked off with Monday’s theme, “Make America Safe Again.” Headliners for the night included Melania Trump, Former New York Mayor Rudy #Giuliani, Lieutenant General (retired) Michael #Flynn, and US Senator Joni #Ernst (R-Iowa).

Before the event was gaveled into order, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort called Ohio Governor John Kasich “petulant” for failing to attend the convention in his own state. Later in the night, Never Trump delegates requested a roll call vote to change the rules, which was denied, resulting in boos, catcalls and delegate walkouts.

Breaking from tradition, Trump appeared on stage the first day of the convention, to introduce his wife, the night’s keynote speaker. The GOP Presidential Nominee made a dramatic entrance, to the tune of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and a fog-filled backlit stage.

As Melania Trump took to the podium she conveyed a message of gratitude for the nation, “I was very proud to become a citizen of the United States, the greatest privilege on the planet Earth.” As she continued she gave a nod to the veteran-dominated lineup for the night, embracing a moment of solemnity for all our nation’s fallen service members: “I cannot take the freedoms for granted, but these freedoms have come with a price so many times.”

Melania Trump’s speech was praised, until it was compared with the one delivered by Michelle Obama at the Democratic Convention in 2008, bearing striking similarities. Donald Trump’s campaign manager denied allegations that Melania Trump plagiarized the speech calling the accusation “just really absurd.”

Day 1 at the #RNC was marked by powerful, moving speeches from members of the military, including MarcusLuttrell (#USNavy Seal), Mark Geist (#USMarineCorps Veteran, fought in battle of #Benghazi), and John Tiegen (US Marine Corps Veteran, fought in battle of Benghazi). Loved ones of veterans who lost their lives in the line of duty also spoke on Monday night, including Karen Vaughn (Mother of fallen U.S. Navy SEAL) and Pat Smith (Mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith).

In her speech, Smith blamed Hillary Clinton personally for the death of her son and joined the crowd when they shouted and chanted that Clinton belongs in jail, the first of many such eruptions during the evening. The two men who wrote the book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi also recounted details of the event, blaming Hillary Clinton personally.

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark followed with a speech, blaming the Obama Administration for rising tensions in the country, stating, “What we witnessed in Ferguson, and Baltimore, and Baton Rouge was a collapse of the social order. So many of the actions of the Occupy Movement and Black Lives Matter transcends peaceful protests and violates the code of conduct we rely on — I call it anarchy.”

Day 2 RNC Highlights

The night’s theme, “Make America Work Again,” focused on economic policy, immigration, trade, and jobs. The evening started with a roll call from the states’ respective delegates, leading up to the official nomination of Donald Trump as the face of the Republican ticket. The #GOP Presumptive Nominee’s son, Donald Trump Jr., cast the official vote for the New York delegation that gave his father the long-awaited 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination. “It is my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top in the delegate count tonight with 89 delegates…Congratulations Dad, we love you,” the eldest Trump son said.

Following this, three of Trump’s previous opponents in the primary season took to the stage, as headliners of the evening, delivering high praise for the GOP nominee.

#ChrisChristie, who many suspect to be a likely candidate for Attorney General in a Trump administration, assumed his role as a former federal prosecutor at the RNC podium. He asked the crowd to deliver verdicts on Hillary Clinton’s record in #Libya, #Syria, #Russia, and #China, amongst others. ­ “We are about to be led by not only a strong leader but by a caring, genuine, and decent person,” he said of his former fellow presidential contender and friend of 14 years.

#BenCarson later took to the stage, opening with “I hate political correctness,” and continuing in the convention’s trend of coalescing along a united front against the Clinton campaign. He ended by reminding the Buckeye crowd, “But you know what, it is not about Donald Trump. It is not about me. It is about we the people. Now is the time for us to rise up and take America back.”

Other speakers of the night included Speaker of the #House Paul Ryan (R-WI), former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Even Entertainment and Sports figures, including #LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, actress Kimberlin Brown, and Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, made appearances.

Day 3 RNC Highlights

Wednesday night of the RNC brought with it the theme, “Make America First Again,” with newly selected Vice Presidential Nominee, #Indiana Governor #MikePence as the evening’s headliner. Memorable speeches of the night included those from former primary rivals Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Scott Walker, and #Florida Senator Marco #Rubio. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, and Eric Trump also took to the podium to express support for the party’s nominee.

Mike Pence’s speech, for many, marked the first time America was officially introduced to the VP pick’s principals and platform, as Trump’s running mate in the 2016 race. The Indiana Governor jokingly introduced himself, saying, “to those of you who don’t know me, which is most of you” and went on to criticize Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Pence also touted his record as Governor of Indiana, saying, “We in Indiana have a $2 billion surplus, the highest credit rating in the nation, even though we’ve cut taxes every year since I became governor four years ago,” he told the crowd. Pence has been called a “movement conservative,” one who will help galvanize the Republican social-conservative base. He opened with, “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order.”

Pence spoke of his Presidential running mate when he said, “He’s a man known for his large personality, his colorful style and his charisma…and, well, I guess he was looking for someone to balance the ticket” and went on to offer a heartfelt defense of the GOP Presidential nominee: “Donald Trump gets it. He’s the genuine article. He’s a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers…And when Donald Trump does his talking, he doesn’t tiptoe around the thousand new rules of political correctness. He’s his own man, distinctly American. Where else would an independent spirit like his find a following than in the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

When he took the stage, Texas Senator and former Republican primary race rival, #TedCruz, was initially greeted with a warm reception from the crowd in the Quicken Loans Arena. The Senator congratulated Trump on his official nomination, but as his speech progressed, it became increasingly apparent that he was not going to endorse his former rival. The decision was met with loud boos from the audience, especially following his encouragement to voters to “vote your conscience” and not “stay home in November.” Donald Trump even tweeted that he had previously seen the Texas Senator’s speech two hours prior to the official delivery, but decided to allow him to speak anyway.

Ted Cruz stood by his refusal to endorse Trump during questioning on Thursday, stating, “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” The Trump camp criticized him Thursday, including Roger Stone who called Cruz “a treacherous prick” while former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani ripped him as a “disloyal Republican.”

Florida Senator #MarcoRubio, who dropped out of the race in March, delivered his speech via video, using the opportunity to criticize Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and expressing his support for Donald Trump: “Donald Trump is committed to cut taxes, curb spending, and get our national debt under control.”

He finished his speech on a note of unity, reminding, “After a long and spirited primary, the time for fighting each other is over.”

Day 4 RNC Highlights

On the last night of the RNC 2016 Convention, closing under the theme, “Make America One Again,” Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican Presidential Nomination. In his speech—the longest presidential nomination acceptance speech of the modern era—the real estate mogul conveyed the familiar themes that successfully pushed him past his former 16 rivals in the primary season—border security, well-negotiated trade deals, and a commitment to vanquish external threats to national security.

The GOP nominee’s nomination was sealed by his home state, with New York casting 89 votes for the new face of the party ticket, bringing Mr. Trump’s total vote count to 1,725.

Donald Trump’s speech marked a historic moment for the Republican Party, with the nominee’s call to protect the “LGBTQ community,” the first time the issue has been raised in a GOP nomination address.

In another first for the party, PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, took to the podium to openly acknowledge his pride in his sexuality, adding, “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American.”

The GOP nominee was introduced on stage by daughter, #IvankaTrump, who portrayed her father in a softer light, describing him as “compassionate” and “kind.” Before officially calling him on stage, however, Ivanka assured voters, “Come January 17, all things will be possible again. We can hope and dream and think big again. No one has more faith in the American people than my father. He will be your greatest, your truest and your most loyal champion.”

As the GOP Presidential Nominee took the stage, the unifying message of his address was “America First.” “An attack on law enforcement is an attack on all Americans,” he said, vowing to be the law and order candidate, also ensuring, “Every action I take, I will ask myself: Does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have the same right to live out their dreams as any other child in America?”

As he attacked his democratic rival, many attendees reacted with chants of “Lock her up,” but the GOP nominee offered a milder alternative, saying “Let’s defeat her in November.”

Trump closed his speech by declaring:

“My pledge reads: “I’M WITH YOU – THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.”
I am your voice.
So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight:
I’m With You, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you.
To all Americans tonight, in all our cities and towns, I make this promise: We Will Make America Strong Again.
We Will Make America Proud Again.
We Will Make America Safe Again.
And We Will Make America Great Again.
THANK YOU.”

#TrumpFactCheck

Certain claims made by Trump during his RNC speech have come under fire, as false or misleading. Trump claimed “the number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent, compared to this point last year.” Statistics show the number of law enforcement officers killed on the job has increased 8 percent, compared to this time in 2015. Trump claimed “2 million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the president took his oath of office.” Statistics show the overall number of Latinos has grown by nearly 7 million, with the percentage of Latinos living in poverty declining from 25.3 percent to 23.6 percent.

#NotSoSecret

The #SecretService is investigating a Donald Trump adviser who said in a radio interview that Hillary Clinton should be executed for treason. #AlBaldasaro, a New Hampshire representative who serves on Trump’s veterans’ coalition and as a Trump delegate at RNC2016, said that Clinton is “a disgrace for the lies she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi” and that “She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something’s wrong there.” He added, “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Asked about Baldasaro’s comments, Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said the agency is “aware of this matter and will conduct the appropriate investigation.”

#DNC2016

As the focus shifts from #Cleveland to #Philadelphia, next week’s Democratic National Convention will usher in Hillary Clinton as the first American woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major political party. The convention, whose tagline is “Let’s make history again,” will offer a star-studded speaker line-up.

Lima Charlie presents a look ahead at the major public figures in the political and entertainment worlds who will be speaking, performing, and supporting the eventual nomination of the Democratic nominee:

From the political arena: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Chelsea Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

From the entertainment arena: Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, Snoop Dogg, Debra Messing, Eva Longoria, and Idina Menzel.

The event will host 4,769 delegates who will usher in Clinton as the party’s nominee, who has already received the endorsements of President Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden. Each night will feature a distinct theme, with Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama slated to take to the stage on the first night, under the message “United Together.”

On Tuesday, Bill Clinton will headline the evening, highlighting his wife’s achievements in fighting for children, families, and the country. Mothers Against Political Violence is also scheduled to take to the stage during that night. On Wednesday, President Obama and Vice President Biden will deliver speeches, followed by Chelsea Clinton’s speech on the final night, introducing her mother. The theme for Thursday is “Stronger Together.” The convention will run from July 25—July 28, bringing the Presidential Primary Season to an official close.


Stay tuned to Lima Charlie for its #LIVE coverage of #DNC2016 at: LC Election 2016


On JUL22, shortly before 9 PM, #Hillary Clinton selected Virginia Senator #TimKaine as her Vice Presidential running mate for the 2016 Election.

Lima Charlie presents a snapshot of Senator Kaine’s issue positions and experience leading up to his selection as the Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee:

Kaine brings considerable government experience to the ticket, as a swing-state moderate. He was a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and has served as a mayor, governor, and senator. In 2008, many pundits believed President Obama would select him as a running mate but, today, he finally received the VP ticket. Kaine has also served as a civil rights lawyer, with roots in Kansas City, the town where he grew up.

As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, the Senator has pushed for extensive military reform in Congress, given that his son is an active-duty infantry officer in the #USMC. He has received an award from the Virginia Military Institute and has emerged as a leading liberal force on national security. He is perhaps best known for his advocacy and drafting of a new authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) that would allow President Obama—and subsequent Commanders-in-Chief—the statutory authority to actually prosecute the war against ISIS, under the authority of the U.S. Constitution. Most recently, the Senator has appended two amendments to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act which, although unsuccessful, demonstrate his unrelenting pursuit of military Congressional reform.

Kaine is fluent in #Spanish, having lived in #Honduras in 1980, and famously spoke in Spanish for just shy of 15 minutes while on the Senate floor, railing against a bipartisan bill drafted by the “Gang of Eight.” This marked the very first time a Senator has given an entire speech on the floor in a language other than English.

Kaine is an outspoken advocate of free trade, a sharp contrast to much of the liberal base. He has defended the North-American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a position which diverges from Hillary Clinton’s opposition to the #TPP, in recent times. Kaine is a gun control supporter, although he owns guns himself. He was inspired by the Virginia Tech shooting to close loopholes in Virginia laws that allowed people to purchase guns despite failing background checks.

On foreign policy, Kaine has backed the #Iran nuclear deal and supported normalizing relations with #Cuba. On immigration, he has supported Obama’s executive actions protecting as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Kaine’s stance on abortion does not perfectly align with that of the party base, however. As a traditional Catholic, he has stated he is personally opposed to abortion, but believes in the legacy of Roe v. Wage and that “women should make these decisions and government shouldn’t intrude.”

On JUL23, Kaine is scheduled to appear with Clinton at a #Florida rally at the #Miami International University Arena, to officially usher in their new Democratic ticket just days before the #DemocraticNationalConvention


#ForeignRelations

ON JUL22, President Barack #Obama held a joint #WhiteHouse press conference with Mexican President, Enrique Pena #Nieto, for a discussion on trade, efforts to combat drug trafficking, and border security. The meeting comes on the heels of Donald Trump’s acceptance of the GOP nomination for President, an event President Obama alluded to at the start of the conference:

“Let me start by saying something that is too often overlooked but bears repeating, especially given some of the heated rhetoric that we sometimes hear…The United States values tremendously our enduring partnership with #Mexico.”

Both leaders met just one month ago during the North American Leaders’ Summit in Canada. Mexico is the US’ third largest trading partner, and in addition to this relationship between the two countries, President Obama also spoke about the joint accountability both nations must take in the drug trafficking crisis:

“This is a problem of both of our countries… And as a consequence of the work that we’ve done together, we have seen progress in some areas, both in the flow of drugs north, but also in the flow of guns and illicit financing south.”

President Nieto is one of Trump’s strongest critics, and it’s unusual for President Obama to meet with the same world leader in a singular three-week span, but today’s meeting reflected the salience of the GOP Nominee’s acceptance of the head of the party ticket, given that both Presidents responded to a flurry of questions on the real estate mogul’s stance on US-Mexico relations.

“It is the American people who have to decide who the next male or female president will be,” he said. “I have expressed absolute respect for this process,” President Nieto said. The next US President, he added, “will find in Mexico and its government a constructive attitude.”

During the press conference, crowds of protesters convened outside the White House, holding signs demanding justice for 43 Mexican college students who went missing in #Guerrero two years ago. President Nieto’s approval rating has plummeted 34 percentage points since the beginning of 2013, when his disapproval rate was 29%. This, in response to public dismay amid the government’s handling of corruption charges.

On JUL22, the ministers and participants from the 1987 #MontrealProtocol gathered in #Vienna, #Austria at the Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol to amend the 20th Century agreement, which made efforts to phase out ozone-killing refrigerants—chlorofluorocarbons—almost three decades ago. Today’s delegation is aiming to come to an agreement to reduce HFC’s—hydrofluorocarbons—which have increased in usage over the last decade.

The 1987 Montreal Protocol was signed by all UN and EU member nations, making strides to phase out CFC’s. However, in the process, a new problem arose. Manufacturers began substituting CFC’s with HFC’s, which were ozone-friendly but were later discovered to reap great damage contributing to climate change. While scaling back on HFC emission would not completely solve the problem, experts—like Noele Eckley Selin at MIT’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences—say that it would “characterize…quite a chunk of the emissions reduction we need.” The US delegation to the Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol includes representatives from the White House, Department of State, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Agriculture.

A mutual agreement could be reached as early as Saturday.

Following the meeting, #SecretaryKerry will travel to Paris, France to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the ongoing efforts to advance a two state solution. After this trip, Kerry will move on to Vientiane, Laos, where he will stay until the 26th, to participate in the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting, the ASEAN-US Ministerial Meeting, and the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial Meeting. The purpose of this visit is to discuss the region’s security architecture and transnational obstacles, including maritime security, unregulated fishing, and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

From July 26-27, Secretary Kerry will meet with Philippines President Rodrigo #Duterte and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay to discuss the full range of US cooperation with the newly formed administration.

JUL20 marked the one-year anniversary of the renewal of #USCuban diplomatic relations, after more than 50 years of tense relations stemming from Cold War frictions. On this day in 2015, the #Cuban flag was raised over the #Washington Embassy of #Havana for the first time in 54 years. One year ago, #AirForceOne touched down in Havana for the first time in history.

According to a US State Department Fact Sheet, significant accomplishments have been reached in the drive to normalize relations with Cuba. Among these:

Re-Opening of Embassies: The United States and Cuba re-opened their respective embassies on July 20, 2015. When Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Havana to raise the U.S. flag at our Embassy for the first time since 1961, he said, “President Obama and President Castro made a courageous decision to stop being the prisoners of history and to focus on the opportunities of today and tomorrow.” Subsequently, the United States and Cuba launched a Bilateral Commission to meet regularly to advance the normalization process; the Commission has already met on three occasions in Havana and Washington, D.C.

Educational, Professional and Cultural Exchange: President Obama’s policy direction supports more interaction between our peoples. This year’s highlights include the announcement of a new $1 million commitment from the Cuban-American community to support young Cubans to study in the United States; the inclusion of Cubans participating for the first time in U.S. fellowship programs; and the participation of young Cuban leaders and entrepreneurs in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Cuba’s rich and diverse culture will be featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in summer 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Maritime Navigation: The #FloridaStraits is one of the most heavily traveled bodies of water in the world. With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on hydrography and nautical charting in March, the United States and Cuba took a proactive step to help to improve the safety of mariners and boaters of all nations. Negotiations are also underway to delimit the unresolved maritime boundary between the #United States, #Mexico, and #Cuba.

However, human rights concerns still remain at the forefront of many minds, both in government and throughout the nation. “Human rights will continue to be one of the more challenging issues we discuss. We are working with the Cuban government to schedule a human rights dialogue in Havana,” a State Department representative said.

#National Security

On JUL21, the Foreign and Defense Ministers of the Counter-ISIL (Da’esh) Coalition Small Group, Military Coalition and members that compose major non-military contributions gathered in Washington, along with Secretary of State John #Kerry and Secretary of Defense #AshCarter to propel the joint effort to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. According to a press release from the #StateDepartment, the Spokesperson reminds:

“This is a key moment in the campaign to put Da’esh on a lasting, irreversible path to defeat. The attacks in Nice, Baghdad, Dhaka Rukban, Istanbul, Qaa and others before them have only cemented our common resolve to destroy Da’esh and the toxic ideology that inspires its followers and sympathizers.”

The Coalition stands in solidarity with the Syrian people and supports a genuine political transition, on the basis of the 2012 Geneva Communique and UNSCR 2254, whose goal is to establish an inclusive, pluralistic, and non-sectarian government that represents the will of all Syrians.

The parties at the meeting will meet for the next gathering of the Small Group Political Directors in Berlin in November of 2016.

On JUL20, co-hosts of the Pledging Conference in Support of #Iraq—#Canada, #Germany, #Japan, #Kuwait, The #Netherlands, and the #US—announced that over 2 billion dollars in new money have been pledged for the people of Iraq in opposition to Da’esh’s campaign of tyranny. The money will go toward funding in the following areas, according to a State Department press release:

1) humanitarian assistance;
2) demining;
3) UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization;
4) UNDP’s new Funding Facility for Expanded Stabilization (FFES), endorsed by Prime Minister Abadi to provide pivotal, medium-term stabilization initiatives to foster resiliency and recovery in Da’esh liberated areas.

On JUL20, Attorney General Loretta #Lynch announced that the US government is looking to recover upwards of 1 billion dollars in assets linked to a global money laundering conspiracy and international public corruption—the largest single action ever launched under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative to date.

Through this scheme, funds which were owned by the Malaysian government—almost 8 billion dollars worth—were supposedly going to benefit the Malaysian people, but, in reality, the money was traced to senior leadership purchases of hotels, yachts, jets, and artwork by Claude Money and Vincent Van Gogh. A complex web of shell companies was used to funnel money through the United States, maintaining bank accounts in Luxembourg, the US, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Special Agent Darryl Wegner, Chief of the FBI’s International Corruption Unit, said, “Today’s action sends a message to corrupt foreign officials. The FBI, together with our international partners, will find these individuals and root out their corruption…We are working very hard to make sure that the U.S. will not be a safe haven for these types of crimes.”

Three international corruptions squads—under the FBI—are working on the case, including those in Washington #DC, #NewYorkCity, and #LosAngeles. These squads are trained in tracing money connected to scenarios in which foreign officials illicitly funnel money from their governments at the expense of the public.

#Military

On JUL21, the #USArmy announced it expects to release a new, lighter weight body armor system for combat soldiers by 2019. New designs which will be rolled out include:

Ballistic Combat Shirt: engineered to be worn in tandem with a ballistic vest, the shirt contains protection on the upper back, chest, and neck, along with covers for the arms with ballistic-protective sleeves. The material eliminates the need for the Deltoid Auxiliary Protector, which can often be obstructive. This design won an award on Thursday, for the revolutionary approach of the engineering, which focuses on the US Soldier as an athlete, according to a US Army press release.

The design marks a departure from the Interceptor Body Armor system, an advancement rolled out for the #USMarineCorps in the late 1990’s which increased in bulk over the years.

“It has an improved range of motion,” said creator, Army engineer Robert DiLalla, who partnered with Protect the Force LLC, a South Boston firm with connections with the athletic apparel industry to create the design.

“So now instead of having to attach all of these components, you can throw it on like a goalie shirt in hockey. It goes on and you don’t need a buddy to help you don the system. It’s form-fitting so the Soldiers like it. Instead of one panel, the deltoid section is three panels. It’s contoured so it stays with you. It moves with you.”

On JUL20, the #USAirForce announced that 8 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircrafts and 140 airmen—as part of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Fort Wayne Air Station, Indiana—have deployed for a one-month combined training exercise at the Slovakian Siliač Air Base. The Operation, part of Atlantic Resolve, has been launched to provide reinforcement on NATO’s Eastern Flank, amidst Russian threats. The Airmen will conduct training events alongside State Partner and NATO ally, Slovakia and the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron will also accompany the Slovakian Air Force in Close Air support capacity, flying F-16’s, KC-135’s, C-130’s, and Allied Nation Air Forces. This marks the first deployment of the 163rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to Siliač Air Base. As the Air Force Press release reads:

“These deployments reinforce the U.S. commitment to NATO during an unpredictable and uncertain time. We are able to maintain a global presence thanks to the efforts of our active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve partners. Air Guardsmen provide critical support throughout the USAFE-AFAFRICA AOR’s by deploying and interacting with a variety of nations.”

On JUL20, the #USMarineCorps Systems Command announced plans to release a new program that would incorporate rugged, secure handheld smart communication devices into the hands of squad leaders, by 2019. As part of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Common Handheld program, the program is meant to keep Marines connected even if they are out of reach of secure mobile communications systems.

On JUL19, the USMarineCorps 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment—known as the “Darkhorse Battalion”—at Camp Pendleton was asked to test what could be the future of warfighting, using the newly unveiled 40 types of technology from the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

The #3rdBattalion, 5th Marine was deployed to #Sangin, #Afghanistan, during #OperationEnduringFreedom in 2010. The Marines in 3/5 suffered the highest casualty rate of any battalion during the Afghanistan war. Major Jason Dempset is in charge of the experiment with technological equipment, saying, “out motto is ‘we drive the future’…most of our casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan came from logistical convoys…the fuel, the water, the chow…everything the unit needs to survive.”

In order to provide the troops with the necessary supplies, trucks would often have to barrel down roads booby-trapped with bombs, leading to many injuries among the troops.

Some of the new technology they will be putting to the test include:

Joint Infantry Combat Prototype: An exoskeleton which harnesses a Marine’s energy as he or she walks, using thin lithium-ion batteries, folding solar panels and magazine-sized pouches with built-in charging nodes to charge on the go. The energy harnessed can then be used to recharge a small units’ devices and assist between logistical resupplies.

Remote-controlled robotic guns: This technology provides units with more firepower, augmenting the forces with laser designation and an M240 machinegun that holds 500 rounds and is enabled to spin a full 360 degrees. The device consists of a tracked ground vehicle equipped with this artillery as well as cameras. The user is given an attachable controller, which clicks on to a vest, and controls the vehicle from this handheld device.

Small Unit Water Purification system: a self-contained system with filters and tubes to enable the user to drink water found just about anywhere by converting and filtering it. The system requires a battery—which can take the form of a solar panel—and can filter 200, 325, or 1000 gallons a day.

The Dragon Runner: an 11-pound unmanned vehicle that could deliver much-needed supplies to Marines in emergency situations, such as in the event that ground forces run out of ammunition and the device is needed to zip up across a kill zone to drop off equipment.

#NationalNumbers #RealEstate #StockMarket #Oil #Silver #Gold

On JUL21, the National Association of Realtors (#NAR) announced that existing homes sales have increased 1.1% to an annual rate of 5.57 million units last month, the highest level since February of 2007.

According to the NAR, mortgage rates declined in June to their lowest level since 2013, based on predictions that the Federal Reserve would act cautiously regarding increasing short-term rates. Following the June 23 BREXIT decision, mortgage rates have continued to decline, as well.

On JUL22, US stocks closed high and the S&P ended at a fresh record—the seventh of its kind in 2016—just one day after a pause halted the Dow’s nine-day winning streak. The #NASDAQ Composite increase 0.5% and the #DowJonesIndustrialAverage rose 53.62 points to 18570.85.

In the last week alone, about 5.9 billion shares have changed hands per day—approximately 1.7 billion fewer shares than on average in 2016 and the slowest week since the end of last year. Many traders credit this slowing in trading to summer market malaise, in the wake of the #UK #BREXIT vote.

On JUL22, #Oil futures finishes with a loss to match a weekly decline of nearly 4% for the week—closing at their lowest level in about 11 weeks. A stronger dollar, along with continued supply-glut fears—continue to keep pressure on oil, however.

On JUL22, #gold prices recovered by Rs 105 per 10 grams, rebounding after a two-day falling streak. #Silver also recovered, by Rs 660 per kg.

On JUL22, the dollar index rose to a more than four-month record, as investors begin to reassess the possibility of central bank policy divergence between the US and other developed countries. #Sterling was the largest mover, of the major currencies, falling 1.15% against the dollar to $1.3080.

+++ End

Lima Charlie News, U.S. Bureau, with Nikita Roach and Special Ops assistance by Julia Ambros

For up-to-date U.S./Washington news, please join us on Twitter at @LimaCharlieNews

Lima Charlie provides global news, analysis and opinion by military veterans and service members Worldwide.

#LimaCharlie #LimaCharlieNews #USNews

 

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