PHOTOS: President Trump’s state visit to the U.K.Yahoo News Photo Staff•President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Stansted Airport in England, Monday, June 3, 2019 at the start of a three day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP) President Donald Trump has arrived in the U.K. on the first leg of a trip that will include commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day during a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery in France.The agenda for Trump’s weeklong journey is largely ceremonial: a state visit and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II in London, D-Day commemoration ceremonies on both sides of the English Channel and his first presidential visit to Ireland.But Trump’s visit also comes at a fraught time in British politics, with Prime Minister Theresa May stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7 over the country’s Brexit turmoil. Lawmakers in Parliament have repeatedly rejected May’s Brexit divorce deal with the European Union.Trump will meet with May, but Monday’s focus will be on elaborate ceremonies honoring the president. It begins with Queen Elizabeth II holding a grand welcoming ceremony at Buckingham Palace, moves on to a formal tea with Prince Charles and ends with a sumptuous state banquet Monday night. (AP)See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery leaves after firing a 41 Gun Royal Salute marking U.S President Donald Trump’s arrival, past a fan holding a sign welcoming Trump, in Green Park in London, Monday, June 3, 2019. Trump is on a three-day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Tim Ireland/AP)President Donald Trump waves with first lady Melania Trump as they arrive at Stansted Airport in England, Monday, June 3, 2019 at the start of a three day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery perform a gun salute to honour President Trump’s state visit and to mark the 66th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation at Green Park on June 3, 2019 in London, England. (Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images)The convoy of U.S President Donald Trump drives down Pall Mall in London, Monday, June 3, 2019, on the opening day of a three day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)President Donald Trump reviews an honor guard during a ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 3, 2019 on the opening day of a three day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)U.S. President Donald Trump inspects an honor guard at Buckingham Palace, in London, Britain, June 3, 2019. (Photo: Toby Melville/Pool/Reuters)U.S. President Donald Trump inspects an honour guard during a welcome ceremony in Buckingham Palace, in London, Britain, June 3, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II greets President Donald Trump as he arrives for a welcome ceremony in the garden of Buckingham Palace, in London, Monday, June 3, 2019, on the first day of a three day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Victoria Jones/Pool via AP)Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II stands with President Donald Trump, center, Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, right, during a ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 3, 2019 on the opening day of a three day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)(L-R) U.S. President Donald Trump and the Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during the Ceremonial Welcome at Buckingham Palace on the first day of the U.S. president and First Lady’s three-day State visit on June 3, 2019 in London, England. (Photo: Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II greets President Donald Trump, center, and first lady Melania Trump, left, with Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during a ceremonial welcome in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 3, 2019 on the opening day of a three day state visit to Britain. (Photo: Frank Augstein/AP)Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (C) speaks with US President Donald Trump (R) as US First Lady Melania Trump (L) smiles during a welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London on June 3, 2019, on the first day of the US president and First Lady’s three-day State Visit to the UK. (Photo: Toby Melville / Pool / AFP/Getty Images)Prince Andrew, Duke of York (L) with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior during their visit to Westminster Abbey on June 3, 2019 in London, England. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior during their visit to Westminster Abbey on June 3, 2019 in London, England. (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, right, and Queen Elizabeth II, walk in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace, Monday, June 3, 2019, in London. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)
Donald Trump Put His Hand on Queen Elizabeth’s Back at State Banquet: Did He Break Protocol?Robyn Merrett•Queen Elizabeth and Donald Trump Meet at Buckingham Palace for State Visit Amid ProtestsWhile attending a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Monday, President Donald Trump put his hand on Queen Elizabeth‘s back, sparking debate on whether or not he broke royal protocol.The incident took place after Trump, 72, praised the Queen, 93, as a “great woman” for her work during World War II.“From the Second World War to today, her majesty has stood as a constant symbol of these priceless traditions,” Trump said of the Queen at the dinner.“She has embodied the spirit of dignity, duty and patriotism that beats proudly in every British heart,” he added.The Queen also spoke of her respect for the U.S. saying in her speech, “Tonight we celebrate an alliance that has helped us to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades, and which I believe will endure for many years to come.”In response to the back-patting gesture, the Queen didn’t appear ruffled.The Royal Family’s website states, “There are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth RELATED:Trump Calls Westminster Abbey a ‘Special Place’ in Tweet-Length Handwritten Message for the GuestbookIf an individual wishes to observe the traditional forms, it is advised that men perform a “neck bow (from the head only)” while women do a “small curtsy.”“Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way,” the website states.In addition, the Queen should be addressed as “Your Majesty” upon presentation, and subsequently as “Ma’am.”Former First Lady Michelle Obama warmly wrapped her arm around the Queen during a 2009 reception at Buckingham Palace.The Queen responded by putting her own arm around the first lady’s waist.Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth RELATED: Donald Trump Didn’t Recognize the Gift He Brought Queen Elizabeth on Last Year’s U.K. Visit Obama, 55, later commented on the incident in her book Becoming, writing, “If I hadn’t done the proper thing at Buckingham Palace, I had at least done the human thing.”“I daresay that the Queen was okay with it, too, because when I touched her, she only pulled closer, resting a gloved hand lightly on the small of my back,” she added.Following Trump’s visit with the Queen, he and First Lady Melania Trump will head to Ireland on Wednesday and then to France on Thursday.Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth | REX/Shutterstock The four-day European trip’s official purpose, per the White House, is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day while reaffirming the close alliance between the U.S. and the U.K. The itinerary includes a mix of ceremonial occasions, including the banquet at Buckingham Palace, and political engagements, such as meeting with departing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.The president is a divisive figure in the U.K., and he has continued to stir controversy even as he arrived on Monday morning. As he was landing in London, he attacked the city’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in a tweet, calling him “stone cold loser,” and last week, he said Meghan Markle‘s criticism of him as a presidential candidate was “nasty.”
GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran called U.S. sanctions „economic war” on Monday, and said there could be no talks with the United States until sanctions are lifted, a day after Washington suggested it could hold talks without pre-conditions if Iran changed its behaviour.
„#EconomicTerrorism against Iran targets innocent civilians. Like this little boy, whose heartbroken mother can’t get him prosthetic legs as he grows. They’re sanctioned,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday, with a video clip of a woman saying the prosthetic leg her son needs is sanctioned.
Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.
„This is @realDonaldTrump’s ‘economic war’. And war and talks – with or without preconditions – don’t go together,” Zarif added in the tweet.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the United States was prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear programme but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation” first.
Tensions between the two foes have escalated in the past month, a year after the United States pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting sanctions.
Washington reimposed sanctions last year and tightened them sharply at the start of last month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. It has also hinted at military confrontation, sending extra forces to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats.
Iran for its part has responded by threatening to increase its production of enriched uranium beyond limits set in the nuclear agreement, although it has not done so yet.
Both sides have made repeated remarks in recent weeks about possible talks to resolve their differences, while saying that the other side must act first.
(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Peter Graff)
Damascus (AFP) – Israel launched a second round of strikes against Syria in 24 hours on Sunday, state media reported, as US President Donald Trump called on Russia and Iran to „stop bombing the hell” out of the war-torn country.
Syria accused Israel of targeting an airbase in Homs province, reportedly killing five people, just hours after carrying out retaliatory attacks on military and intelligence posts south of Damascus, killing 10.
„Our air defences thwarted an Israeli aggression and destroyed two of the rockets that targeted the T-4 airbase,” a military source told state news agency SANA said Sunday evening.
The remaining rockets „killed one soldier, wounded two others, and damaged an arms warehouse,” the source added.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported five killed, including one Syrian soldier, adding that a rocket warehouse was destroyed.
In addition to the Syrian army, Iranian fighters and Hezbollah paramilitary forces are also stationed at the airbase, according to the monitor.
Hours earlier, Israel said it had carried out strikes in the province of Quneitra, which includes the Golan Heights, most of which is occupied and annexed by Israel.
It said the attack was in response to rare rocket fire from its neighbour late Saturday.
Two rockets were fired from Syria at Mount Hermon in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and one had been „located within Israeli territory,” the Israeli Army said.
The Observatory said 10 were killed, including Syrian soldiers and foreign fighters in the attack south of the capital.
– STOP! –
Late Sunday, Trump tweeted calling for an end to the bombing in the jihadist stronghold of the northwestern region of Idlib.
„Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians.
„The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!” he said on Twitter shortly before he departed for a state visit to Britain.
As well as killing dozens of civilians, the recent bombardments by Syrian and Russian forces allied to President Bashar al-Assad have pushed 300,000 people towards Turkey’s border, Syrian NGOs have said.
Meanwhile, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria, most of them against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets.
The country says it is determined to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s eight-year war which has killed more than 370,000 people.
The Jewish state insists that it has the right to continue to target positions in Syria held by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah out of self-defence.
„We won’t tolerate fire at our territory and will respond forcefully to any aggression against us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, after the first strikes.
The attacks come amid soaring tensions between Iran and the United States.
The stand-off had been simmering since the US last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear treaty which Iran reached with major world powers.
In recent weeks Washington has accused Iran of alleged threats and deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.
By Philip Pullella
BLAJ, Romania, June 2 (Reuters) – Pope Francis warned against any new ideological attempt to sow fear or division in society on Sunday as he paid tribute to Christians in Romania killed or persecuted under Communism.
Francis traveled to the central city of Blaj to beatify seven Communist-era bishops of the Eastern Rite Catholic Church who died in prison or as a result of their harsh treatment.
After World War Two, Romania’s Communist authorities confiscated properties of the Eastern Rite Catholic Church and ordered its members to join the majority Orthodox Church, which was easier for the party to control.
The pope, who appeared tired on the last day of his trip to Romania, beatified the bishops as martyrs at an open-air Mass said in the Byzantine rite used by Eastern Rite Catholics, moving them one step closer to sainthood.
Eastern Rite Catholics worship in a Byzantine rite as Orthodox Christians do. But unlike the Orthodox, they are in communion with Rome and the pope.
Historians say about half a million Romanians including politicians, priests, doctors, officers, land owners and merchants were sentenced and jailed in the 1950s and early 1960s and a fifth of them perished in prisons and labor camps.
„With great courage and interior fortitude, they accepted harsh imprisonment and every kind of mistreatment, in order not to deny their fidelity to their beloved Church,” Francis said in his homily before some 80,000 people in a field.
Many Catholic properties taken by the Communist dictatorship or given by the government to the Orthodox have yet to be returned 30 years after the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
„(The bishops) endured suffering and gave their lives to oppose an illiberal ideological system that oppressed the fundamental rights of the human person,” Francis said.
He warned against „new ideologies springing up” that targeted young people and were as atheistic as those of the past because they try to uproot cultural and religious traditions.
„(There are) forms of ideological colonization that devalue the person, life, marriage and the family,” he said.
When he has used the term „ideological colonization” in the past it was in reference to attempts by rich countries to link aid or economic assistance to acceptance of such things as birth control, abortion and homosexuality. (Additional reporting by Radu-Sorin Marinas in Bucharest; Editing by Alexander Smith)
We have an idea of what is to come.
The U.S. Navy’s New Attack Submarine: The Most ‘Stealth’ Sub Ever?
The technical elements of undersea command and control, quite naturally, are being engineered with a mind to an expected increased use of underwater drones. The Navy is now moving quickly with efforts to build an entire new fleet of UUVs able to destroy mines, conduct lower risk forward surveillance, deliver supplies or even fire weapons with a “human-in-the-loop.” Capt. Pete Small, the Program Manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems, addressed this phenomenon at Sea Air Space and said the service’s now in development Orca XLUUV – Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle – is being configured to fire torpedoes.
The Navy has begun work on a new generation of attack submarines with never-before-seen weapons, quieting technology, undersea attack drones, sonar and communications networking… to emerge at some point over the next 10 years or more.
Will it be the stealthiest, most lethal attack submarine ever to exist? That ….is the Navy plan.
Plans for the new boats, referred to as a new fleet of Block VI Virginia Class-Attack Attack-class submarines, include launching long-range precision strikes, delivering Special Operations Forces on secret high-risk attack missions, conducting ISR missions, networking with platforms and — perhaps of greatest significance – operating undetected in high-threat waters.
Afghanistan, South Asia
The stability of Afghanistan—and the denial of its territory to terrorist groups—requires a good-faith Pakistani agreement to cease backing extremists, and after nearly two decades, this means, coercing Pakistan.
Winning in Afghanistan Requires Taking the Fight to Pakistan
U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was in Washington, DC last week to brief Capitol Hill on his ongoing talks with the Taliban. The senators were unimpressed, and with reason. There any many flaws in Khalilzad’s plan: It revives the pre-9/11 formula of legitimizing Taliban rule in exchange for a Taliban pledge to close terror camps; it undercuts the legitimacy of the elected Afghan government; and it discounts the Taliban’s long history of insincere diplomacy and fleeting commitments. The biggest problem with Khalilzad’s approach, however, is it ignores a simple fact: There can be no peace in Afghanistan so long as Pakistan chooses to undercut Afghan stability and support extremism. The missing piece to the Khalilzad strategy, therefore, is how to bring Pakistan to heel.
Why Pakistan Supports Radicalism
Beijing (AFP) – Washington’s escalating trade war with Beijing has not „made America great again” and has instead damaged the American economy, China said Sunday, warning that while it wants resolution through talks there will be no compromise on core principles.
Beijing’s broadside is the latest act in a bruising conflict between the world’s top two economies that has spooked markets and sparked fears about the global economy.
With trade talks stalled, the dispute has intensified in recent weeks with US President Donald Trump imposing fresh tariffs on imports from China and moving to blacklist Chinese tech titan Huawei over national security concerns.
„The (US) tariff measures have not boosted American economic growth. Instead, they have done serious harm to the US economy,” the Chinese government said in a white paper, pointing to what it described as increased production costs and consumer prices in the United States and threats to economic growth.
„The trade war has not ‘made America great again’,” it said, referring to Trump’s political slogan made famous during his 2016 presidential campaign.
The white paper’s release came a day after China hit $60 billion worth of US goods with new punitive tariffs ranging from five to 25 percent, in retaliation for Washington raising duty on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent.
Trump launched the trade war last year in a bid to reduce the US trade deficit with China and force Beijing to undertake economic reforms, accusing it of seeking to dominate global industries with unfair state subsidies and of acquiring American technology through theft or forced transfers.
Since Trump fired the first shot, the two countries have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs on two-way trade worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
The resulting conflict has gutted US farm exports to China, and weighed on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.
While both sides have sought to find a resolution through several rounds of negotiations, they appear to have stalled after the latest meetings ended without a deal.
American negotiators have alleged their Chinese counterparts reneged on previous commitments, but China said Sunday the US should bear „sole and entire responsibility” for the setback in negotiations, accusing Washington of repeatedly changing its demands.
– Beyond tariffs –
Despite the tensions, China has reiterated that it wants to resolve trade issues through talks.
„On the trade friction started by the US: if the US wants to talk, we will keep the door open. If they want to fight, we are ready,” Chinese defence minister General Wei Fenghe told an international security dialogue in Singapore on Sunday.
And the white paper said: „China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and will fight one if necessary.”
With trade talks stalled, the dispute appears to be spreading beyond tariffs.
Beijing has said it will unveil its own list of „unreliable entities”, apparently in response to the US blacklisting of Huawei over national security concerns, specifically over possible links to China’s military.
The company has dismissed such fears, and Wei echoed that on Sunday.
„Do not think that because the head of Huawei used to serve in the military, then the company that he built is part of the military,” he said.
China’s deputy commerce minister Wang Shouwen said Sunday that Beijing’s list will target companies that „violate market principles”, cut supplies to or block Chinese enterprises, and „whose actions affect China’s national security”.
He did not say when the list will be published or what kind of penalties will be imposed on such firms.
Chinese state media have also dangled the threat of cutting exports of rare earths to the United States — a key resource used in the production of everything from smartphones to military hardware.
There are hopes that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at the G20 summit this month to ease tensions and jumpstart trade negotiations.
But Wang said he had no information when asked about the meeting at a press conference on Sunday.
By David Brunnstrom and John Revill
BELLINZONA, Switzerland (Reuters) – The United States is prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program but needs to see the country behaving like „a normal nation”, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.
Iran dismissed the offer as „word-play”.
Tension between the two foes has increased sharply in the past month, a year after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned Iran’s 2015 deal with world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Washington, which reimposed sanctions last year, has sharply tightened them since the start of May, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. It has hinted at military confrontation, sending extra forces to the region in response to what it calls Iranian threats.
Iran has responded by saying it could increase its production of enriched uranium beyond levels permitted under the deal, although it has not yet done so.
Asked about comments by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday that Iran might be willing to hold talks if Washington showed it respect, Pompeo said: „We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no pre-conditions. We are ready to sit down.”
However, he said Washington would continue to work to „reverse the malign activity” of Iran in the Middle East, citing Tehran’s support to Hezbollah and to the Syrian government.
Pompeo said U.S. President Donald Trump had been saying for a long time that he was willing to talk to Iran.
„We are certainly prepared to have that conversation when the Iranians can prove that they want to behave like a normal nation,” he told a joint news conference with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis.
The State Department later pointed to remarks Trump had made nearly a year ago in which he said he was willing to hold talks with Iran without conditions.
Responding to Pompeo’s latest remarks, Rouhani said on Sunday it was up to the United States to return to the negotiating table and resume compliance with the 2015 deal.
„The other side that left the negotiating table and breached a treaty should return to normal state,” he said in comments reported on the government website.
He presented the offer of talks with no pre-conditions as a sign of Iran’s strength: „The enemies sometimes say they have conditions for negotiations with Iran… but in recent weeks they said they have no conditions. They threatened us as if they were a military superpower, but now they say they do not seek a war,” he said.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: „The Islamic Republic of Iran does not pay attention to word-play and expression of hidden agenda in new forms.”
Both sides have made seemingly conflicting remarks about the possibility of talks in recent weeks, while saying it was up to the other side to make the first move.
Rouhani had suggested on Saturday that Iran might be willing to hold talks if Washington showed it respect, but said Tehran would not be pressured into talks.
‘MAY WORK IN REAL ESTATE, DOES NOT WORK IN IRAN’
The Trump administration argues that the 2015 deal agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama is not strong enough, and that Iran can be pressed by new sanctions into signing a tougher deal.
Washington’s European allies say the U.S. decision to abandon the agreement was a mistake, which strengthens Iranian hardliners at the expense of Rouhani, a pragmatist who won two landslide elections on promises to open Iran up to the world.
Trump said last Monday he was hopeful Iran would come to the negotiating table. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran would not negotiate with Washington.
Khamenei, a hardline cleric in power since 1989, is Iran’s ultimate authority although the elected president is in charge of day-to-day affairs.
In an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s „This Week”, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif saw little chance of taking up Trump’s offer, and said Trump’s tough negotiating techniques from his real estate career would fail in diplomacy.
„It’s not very likely because talking is the continuation of the process of pressure. He is imposing pressure,” Zarif said. „This may work in the real estate market. It does not work in dealing with Iran.”
A quarterly report by the U.N. atomic watchdog indicated on Friday that Iran was still abiding by the main limits set in the nuclear deal. Pompeo said Washington has its own „independent understanding of what is taking place there”.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and John Revill; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken, William Maclean, Lisa Shumaker and Peter Graff)
My Littoral Combat Ship did not have the needed firepower.
China Wins: I Lost the (Simulated) Battle for the South China Sea Thanks to 1 Thing
Worst of all, in order to bring what meager firepower each had to bear against the enemy, the LCS had to bring itself within range of multiple Chinese weapon systems.
The year is 2016, and two of the U.S. Navy’s latest ships are backing a key ally in the tinderbox of the South China Sea. They’re facing down the Chinese navy halfway across the world with the latest weapons and systems the United States can get its hands on. But is it enough?
(This first appeared several years ago.)
For more than a hundred years, the U.S. Navy has been using naval wargames to test ships, tactics and strategy. Today, thanks to the ability of computers to process massive amounts of data, sharply accurate, procedural “hard” simulations are possible.
One such sim is Command: Modern Naval/Air Operations, a new game that attempts to model modern sea and air warfare as closely as a game for civilians can.
Recommended: The Real Reason China Has Built a Massive Military
Task and Purpose
You Bet the Navy Secretly Wants to Get Rid of the Littoral Combat Ship
“In many ways, this FFG(X) design goes beyond what today’s LCS can do, particularly as it relates to surface warfare,” as USNI News put it at the time. “The RFI states the frigate should be able to conduct independent operations in a contested environment or contribute to a larger strike group, depending on combatant commander needs.”
After 16 years and billions of dollars, the Navy may have finally acknowledged that its Littoral Combat Ship program looks like a miserable failure.
The service “may not” deploy any of the dozen small surface combatants this year despite officials’ previous plans to deploy several to join the 7th and 5th Fleets in Singapore and Bahrain respectively, the U.S. Naval Institute first reported on April 11.
Skopje (Republic of North Macedonia) (AFP) – North Macedonia handball fans were rebuked Monday for chanting anti-Albanian „hate speech” during celebrations after a Skopje club was crowned European Champions over the weekend.
The Helsinki Committee, a human rights NGO, said it had received numerous reports of racist insults from fans after their Vardar club took home the trophy in Cologne on Sunday.
Most of the abuse was directed at ethnic Albanians, who make up a quarter of the Balkan state’s mainly Slav population, it said. The mainly Muslim minority is a frequent target of nationalists and has long complained of discrimination.
Some fans chanted „Gas chamber” and called for a „pure Macedonia”, the NGO said.
Later on Monday, tens of thousands of people turned out to welcome the team’s double-decker bus as it drove from the airport to Skopje’s main square, in one of the biggest public gatherings in recent years for the small country of 2.1 million.
Fans lit flares and waved the country’s flag and other nationalist symbols as the bus entered Skopje’s centre and the players took to a stage.
At least one group of around 50 fans at the airport were heard chanting „A dead Albanian is a good Albanian”.
The interior ministry had earlier urged citizens „not to use insulting slogans or chants, or sing songs that spread hate speech” at the event.
Clips on social media from Sunday showed fans singing: „Let them know, the evil ‘shiptars’ (a deragatory term for Albanians), that the name Macedonia will never die.”
Those lyrics were a reference to the recent government move adding „North” to the country’s name — a change that ended a long-running dispute with neighbouring Greece but enraged nationalists at home.
The change was spearheaded by the Social Democrat-led government which, with support from minority Albanian parties, ousted a nationalist administration in 2017.
After clinching the handball trophy in Cologne, Germany, on Sunday, the club’s captain Stojance Stoilov interrupted an interviewer to say: „I just want to make a correction. My country’s name is the Republic of Macedonia.”
The comment was applauded by nationalists, particularly on social media.
On Monday evening, Stoilov and the crowd also chanted: „Never North, only Macedonia”.
The victory for Vardar earned the multi-sport club founded in 1961 its second handball European Champions trophy.