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War

Seventy-two years after two torpedoes fired from a Japanese submarine sunk cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), the ship’s wreckage was found resting on the seafloor on Saturday – more than 18,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean’s surface.

Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, led a search team, assisted by historians from the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) in Washington, D.C., to accomplish what past searches had failed to do – find Indianapolis, considered the last great naval tragedy of World War II.

“To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling,” said Allen in a statement provided to USNI News on Saturday.

“As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances.

While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming.”

On July 30, 1945, what turned out to be the final days of World War II, Indianapolis had just completed a secret mission to the island Tinian, delivering components of the atomic bomb “Little Boy” dropped on Hiroshima which would ultimately help end the war. usni.org
A confrontation occurred between Indian and Chinese soldiers along a disputed border in the western Himalayas, Indian officials said on Tuesday.

The PTI news agency said soldiers threw stones, causing minor injuries to both sides, as Chinese troops tried to enter Indian territory near the Pangong lake.

Beijing maintains that their soldiers were inside Chinese territory.

The two countries are also locked in an impasse in the Doklam area, which borders China, India and Bhutan.

PTI quoted army officials as saying that in the latest confrontation, soldiers had to form a human chain to prevent an incursion by Chinese forces into territories claimed by India and located near the country's Ladakh region.

China claims the territories as its own. bbc.com
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime requires his nation’s approval, and vowed to prevent war at all costs.

“There will be no war repeated on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said in a speech on Tuesday marking the anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation in the 1940s.

Military action against North Korea should be decided by “ourselves and not by anyone else,” he said.

While Moon said that South Korea would work with the U.S. to counter security threats, he emphasized the need to focus on diplomatic efforts.

Sanctions were designed to bring North Korea to the negotiating table over its nuclear and missile weapons programs, he said. bloomberg.com
India has increased a military alert along its eastern border with China, moving troops and weapons into the region amid a weeks-long standoff between the two countries that shows no signs of resolution.

As NPR's Julie McCarthy reported last month, New Delhi and Beijing have been at odds over a strategic region called the Doklam Plateau, which is claimed both by China and by India's tiny ally, Bhutan.

In June, China began construction to extend a road there in an apparent effort to press its claim. In response, India sent troops as a show of force, sparking anger from China which says the affair is none of its business.

Beijing demanded that Indian forces withdrawal, but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused.

India's Defense Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament this week that the country's armed forces are "fully prepared" in the event of conflict with China.

The two countries have also long been at odds over India's hosting of Tibet's government-in-exile and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, considered by China to be subversive. npr.org
Erik Prince, the former CEO of the private military company known as Blackwater, wants to step up the Afghan air war with a private air force capable of intelligence collection and close-air support, according to a recent proposal submitted to the Afghan government.

According to a senior Afghan military official, Prince has submitted a business proposal offering a “turn-key composite air wing” to help the fledgling Afghan air force in its fight against the Taliban and other militant groups.

The development comes as the White House is considering a plan to draw down the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and replace the ensuing power vacuum with contractors.

Pentagon officials are skeptical of that plan, and moreover, a senior Afghan defense official said that U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has refused to meet with Prince regarding the contractor plan.

The aircraft offered in the proposal includes fixed-wing planes, attack helicopters and drones capable of providing close-air support to maneuvering ground forces, and the proposal also states that weapons release decisions will still be made by Afghans.

The company named on the proposal to the Afghan government, Lancaster6, is already operating some of its aircraft in Afghanistan providing air mobility, troop transport, and parachute air drop support for supplies and cargo. militarytimes.com
Saudi Arabia is using biological bombs in its attacks on Yemen, causing large numbers of Yemenis to contract cholera and meningitis, according to hospital sources in the war-torn state.

At a time when Yemen is under siege by Saudi Arabia from the air, sea and land for more than two and a half years, the sufferings of Yemeni people are growing in the face of the international community’s unprecedented silence.

According to a Farsi report by Al-Alam News Network, part of the catastrophic situation in Yemen is related to the outbreak of diseases.

The last epidemic was that of cholera which has so far afflicted hundreds of thousands of people and claimed thousands of lives.

In addition to cholera, meningitis has also broken out in Yemen, afflicting dozens of people so far, say sources close to the World Health Organization.

As Saudi Arabia continues to attack and destroy medical centres and prevent pharmaceuticals and medical aid from getting in while pressing ahead with its devastating siege of Yemen, the number of meningitis-sufferers is increasing while hundreds of thousands of women and children have lost their lives to cholera. ifpnews.com
The U.S. spent over $1 billion since 2013 to have the C.I.A. train and arm the militants fighting the Syrian government forces.

“Critics in Congress had complained for years about the costs — more than $1 billion over the life of the program — and reports that some of the C.I.A.-supplied weapons had ended up in the hands of a rebel group tied to Al Qaeda further sapped political support for the program,” the report said.

This covert operation by the C.I.A. has proven to be one of the costliest and least successful in U.S. history, despite the fact it was also aided by Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“The shuttering of the C.I.A. program, one of the most expensive efforts to arm and train rebels since the agency’s program arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s, has forced a reckoning over its successes and failures,” the NYT report added.

The operation has since been cancelled by U.S. President Donald Trump, causing outrage among Syrian opposition activists and rebels. almasdarnews.com
In 1939, China prepared a plan to settle persecuted European Jews in the southwestern Yunnan province, close to the Burmese border, according to documents recently found in Chinese state archives. 

For unknown reasons, the plan was never implemented.

Additional information about Jewish communities in China is slowly emerging as scholars engage with the country and its history. 

This growing knowledge includes information about the ancient community in Kaifeng in Henan province, and the Sephardi-Baghdadi community that settled in Shanghai in the wake of British imperial expansion in the mid-19th century.

Considerable information is also accumulating about the Jews who fled from czarist Russia due to the pogroms and revolutionary waves, and settled in Harbin and other centers like Shanghai and Tianjin, or the uprooted European Jews who came to Shanghai at the end of the 1930s and were concentrated in a “ghetto” in the Hongkou district.

However, documents I’ve recently come across from the Chinese state archives reveal an almost unknown government plan to settle refugee Jews in Yunnan, for humanitarian reasons. haaretz.com