Congressman Calls on California to Fire Pension Official Tied to Chinese Spy Program

A Republican lawmaker urged California to fire a top pension fund official because he participated in a Chinese program that the FBI has called “non-traditional espionage against the United States.” Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to investigate Yu Ben Meng, the chief investment officer at California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), for his “long and cozy relationship” with the Chinese Communist Party. The letter also decried CalPERS’s investment in Chinese companies that built up the regime’s military presence in contested waters of the South China Sea…

Navy Says Upgrading Older Littoral Combat Ships Just Not Worth It « Breaking Defense

USS Gabrielle Giffords launches a Naval Strike Missile. WASHINGTON: As part of its culling of ships in the 2021 budget submission, the Navy wants to scrap four Littoral Combat Ships which it says are already so outdated they can’t be even be used for training anymore, despite two of them being less than a decade old. The requested retirement is another example of the litany of problems the LCS program has suffered during its short life: cost overruns, highly-anticipated ship modules that just don’t work, and propulsion issues that have…

Windy conditions expected in second half of February: Weatherman, Singapore News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Windy conditions are expected in the second half of February, the weatherman said on Friday (Feb 14). And in the later half of the fortnight, thundery showers in the afternoon are also expected, said the National Environment Agency’s Meteorological Service Singapore said in a statement. The daily temperatures in the second half of February are forecast to range between 24 deg C and 33 deg C on most days. Warm conditions can be expected on a few days with a maximum temperature of around 34 deg C. Windy…

Duterte’s VFA Termination Pleases Trump but Leaves Others Angry

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte decided on Tuesday to end a long-standing defense agreement with the United States, signaling a major break in a U.S.-Philippines military alliance that the United States has long seen as essential to countering the rise of China. The Philippine president officially filed to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which gives U.S. troops a legal basis to be present for bilateral exercises in the country, after he had threatened for weeks to end the 21-year-old agreement. Duterte’s threats began after Ronald dela Rosa, a senator and…

Trump’s relationship with Philippines faces HUGE tensions after military pact ripped up | World | News

Mr Duterte’s administration told the US it would be terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries, which has been active since 1998. The primary effect of the agreement is that it allows the US government to retain jurisdiction over US military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines. This is the case as long as the crimes are not “of particular importance to the Philippines”. The agreement also enabled US military personnel to pass in and out of the Philippines without visas or passports. It appears Mr…

Natural Resources Fundraising Faces Tough Environment

The environment has been unfriendly for investors in natural resources as the sector produced “lackluster” returns in 2019 and the number of funds that closed declined for the second straight year, according to a report from data and information provider Preqin. On the surface, the natural resources sector as a whole looked like it had a pretty good year last year with assets under management surpassing $750 billion as of June. But that figure is dominated by large private equity and infrastructure funds, with pure natural resources funds accounting for…

Philippine leader terminates troop agreement with U.S.

MANILA – The Philippines on Tuesday notified the United States of its intent to terminate a major security pact allowing American forces to train in the country in the most serious threat to the countries’ treaty alliance under President Rodrigo Duterte. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a tweet Manila’s notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement was received by the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. He refused to provide other details on the drastic step “as a diplomatic courtesy.” Locsin signed the…

China flexing for global energy domination

By Richard Philips The Belt and Road Initiative, China’s ambitious plan to build an infrastructure highway spanning from Beijing to Brussels, is commonly perceived as a transport artery involving land and sea routes that allow a seamless global supply of Chinese goods and influence in and out of Europe. What is often overlooked is the third branch of the BRI trident – the energy corridor. China is steadily building control over electricity and natural gas grids, gradually increasing its influence by selling energy as a commodity that could someday allow…

PH Navy welcomes mission team guarding West PH Sea, Kalayaan Island Group » Manila Bulletin News

Published February 14, 2020, 10:57 PM By Martin Sadongdong The Philippine Navy (PN) welcomed on Thursday the Naval Forces West (NFW)’s Troop Rotation and Reprovisioning (RORE) Mission Team with BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) as the platform after more than a week of traversing the vast waters of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to reach the respective Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) detachments. Philippine Navy (MANILA BULLETIN) A simple ceremony was held at the Oyster Bay Detachment in Ulugan Bay, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Commodore Renato David, commander of the Naval Forces…

US, China, Russia undermine global order, trust – EURACTIV.com

Germany’s President Frank Walter Steinmeier accused Washington, Beijing and Moscow on Friday (14 February) of jeopardising the international order by stoking global mistrust and insecurity with a “great powers competition”. “Each country should see for itself where it stays and put its own interests above all others,” Steinmeier said in his opening remarks at the Munich Security Conference, denouncing the three powers’ approach to global diplomacy. “And our closest ally, the United States of America, under the present administration, rejects the idea of an international community.” The upshot is “more…