2020 look ahead: Chinese influence a concern as ASEAN elections arrive

Almost no Asian nation wants to pick sides in an extended tussle between China and the U.S. Yet as China’s sway rises, whether they want to choose or not, they must begin to cope — and that means finding ways to respond to China’s use of so-called influence operations to pull domestic opinion in Beijing’s direction. These will again come to the forefront in 2020 as several nations stage elections. Australia has lately been at the forefront of worries over covert operations, accusing China of using pro-Beijing front organizations to mobilize…

Why the brouhaha over Duterte honchos visiting ‘lousy’ US?

Imprisoned Sen. Leila De Lima being escorted for a court appearance. INQUIRER FILE Malacanang continued to seethe and stew over reports – specifics still to be verified – that the United States will ban entry of some Philippine officials involved in the arrest and imprisonment of Sen. Leila de Lima, one of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s most vociferous critics. In a slap swap, the president banned entry of two US senators – Richard Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont – and threatened to impose visa requirements for all visiting…

USS Abraham Lincoln and strike group depart Middle East, Harry S Truman in Red Sea

An F/A-18F Super Hornet attached to the ‘Jolly Rogers’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) on Nov. 22, 2019 (Source US Navy) The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is now in the Indian Ocean after a seven-month stint in the Middle East in parallel with the US maximum pressure campaign targeting Iran following an escalation in tensions in late-2019. Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and unspecified escorts entered US 7th Fleet on Sunday as its relief, USS…

Looking down on a decade: Satellite images tell the stories | National

By then, the surface of the Gulf of Mexico had no visible scars. Beaches and marshes looked oil-free and back to normal. However, scientists noticed an increase in dolphin deaths, which had averaged 63 a year before the spill. After the spill, they hit 335 in 2011 and averaged 200 a year for five years. Biologists also reported far fewer numbers of endangered Kemp Ripley sea turtles for years after. Earth’s glaciers have shrunk by about 3,860 billion tons (3,500 billion metric tons) this decade, according to research by Michael…

3 Sleeper National Security Stories For The Next 10 Years

As 2019 grinds to a close, conventional forward-looking strategists will cite North Korea, Iran, China, climate change and the militarization of Space as future national security flash-points in the years ahead. They are, of course, right. But each of those daunting threats, for the large part, have been studied and are widely understood. More often than not, real threats to global security emerge from unexpected quarters, only to be mis-managed because they are unexplored and misunderstood. So, rather than focus on reinforcing the daunting set of “known” security challenges and…

Best of The Interpreter 2019: The world of sports

Some people believe politics and sport should never mix. Not here at The Interpreter. The field of play may provide a distraction from a world of troubles, and great achievements may bring together a divided folk, but sport is also a theatre of symbols – of power, money, identity – that carries more meaning than just a score or a time on the clock. It is a place of grand aspirations and occasionally noble gestures – a bit like politics itself. The Interpreter took in the spectacle this year, always…

Donald Trump’s real test will be at the polls after a year of infighting, trade rows with China and international security threats

NewsWorld The US President’s accomplishments were modest in 2019 but they might be just be enough to help him win a second term, writes Leo Cendrowicz Monday, 30th December 2019, 4:51 pm The economic tailwinds may prove more decisive for Mr Trump in 2020 than his political travails (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque) Sign up to our daily newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise But it wasn’t the Mueller report that prompted the impeachment. Rather, it was an attempt by Mr Trump to invite a foreign government to influence the…

Thai Official Warns of Water Shortages Due to Weather, Dams | Voice of America

BANGKOK – Thailand should brace for serious water shortages when the hot season begins in March after a year with unusually little rainfall, one of the country’s top water management officials said Monday. Retention of water by dams in upstream areas of the Mekong River also is seen as contributing to record-low water levels in the river, affecting the region’s ecology. Somkiat Prajumwong, director-general of Thailand’s Office of National Water Resources, said the river will experience record-low levels, after already recording new records this past year. His agency is warning…

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Dec. 30, 2019

USNI News Graphic These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Dec. 30, 2019, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. Total U.S. Navy Battle Force: Ships Underway Deployed Ships Underway Non-deployed Ships Underway Total Ships Underway 33 8 41 Ships Deployed by Fleet Fleet Forces 3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total…

China launches two powerful naval destroyers in ”year of harvest” for military

By K J M Varma Beijing, Dec 30 (PTI) China has launched two powerful naval destroyers, is building a massive pier at the Djibouti naval base in the Indian Ocean to dock its aircraft carriers, as the state media described 2019 the “year of harvest” for the Chinese military, which has acquired a whole range of modern weapons. China has been adding new naval ships on a monthly basis. China on Friday launched its sixth Type 055 and the 23rd Type 052D guided missile destroyers, state-run Global Times reported on…