World US military base near North Korean border accidentally emits alarm siren instead of bugle call
Human error has been blamed for the accidental alarm at Camp Casey.
The operator immediately identified a mistake had been made and informed all units that it was a false alarm, Lieutenant Colonel Martyn Crighton, a public affairs officer, told the Associated Press news agency.
He added that no operations had been affected as a result of the incident on Thursday evening.
It came just a day before Japanese broadcaster NHK caused panic by mistakenly posting a news alert saying North Korea had fired a missile over Japan which had landed in the sea off the island of Hokkaido.
The broadcaster apologised, saying the alert was for media training purposes.
Both incidents come at a time of heightened tension in the region after North Korea set an end-of-year deadline for the US to offer mutually acceptable terms for a stalling nuclear deal between the two countries.
Kim Jong-un had previously said he was planning a “Christmas gift” for Donald Trump – widely interpreted to mean he was plotting new ballistic missile tests over the festive period – although Mr Trump himself appeared sanguine about the threat.
“Maybe it’s a nice present,” he said at an armed forces rally. “Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test. I may get a vase. I may get a nice present from him. You never know.”
Pyongyang has largely held off such tests since three meetings between the two leaders including a brief one at the border of North and South Korea in June this year.
However the North Korean tyrant is thought to be becoming increasingly frustrated at the impasse which has occurred since and the fact that crippling economic sanctions have remained in place.
Twenty-one states are increasing their minimum wage for the new year with workers from Arizona to Vermont set to see an increase.
As Keith Mestrich, CEO of Amalgamated Bank and a fan of the wage hike noted on Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM, “It’s going to be a really happy holiday for a lot of people around the country.”
Fourteen states have wage increases that are set to go into effect on Jan. 1 or Dec. 31. Seven more states — Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, South Dakota, and Vermont — have automatic cost-of-living adjustments that will take effect on Jan. 1. Three more states and the District of Columbia have wage increases scheduled to take effect over the course of 2020.
The federal minimum wage, by contrast, has been fixed at $7.25 an hour since 2009 and workers in 21 states remain at that minimum. Two states — Wyoming and Georgia — have a state minimum wage below the federal level, but workers there are entitled to the federal minimum wage unless their employer is not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
A national debate over the minimum wage
Democrats passed a bill this summer in the House of Representatives to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. As expected, the bill has not been taken up the Senate.
Nevertheless, a variety of states have passed legislation to gradually raise their state minimum wages. Connecticut will reach a $15 minimum wage by 2023. A few areas, notably New York City and the District of Columbia, are set to have $15-an-hour minimum wages in 2020.
A New York Times analysis of the effective national minimum wage — an average across all federal, state and local minimum wage laws — found a rate of $11.80 an hour in 2019. According to the Times, “this is probably the highest minimum wage in American history,” adjusted for inflation.
The Democratic case to business leaders for higher minimum wages increases boils down to this: it’s not going to be as bad as you think. As Rep. Bobby Scott, who led the effort for the House bill, put it in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith: “They’ll have to adjust, but they’re adjusting every year anyway.”
A key argument against raising to $15 is that it hurts the very people it’s trying to help. The National Restaurant Association opposed the House bill and — like many business groups — says their industry knows that “the wage hike is a job killer in their communities.”
The Employment Policies Institute, a fiscally conservative group owned by a public relations specialist for the restaurant industry, adds that “the majority of empirical research shows that a higher minimum wage reduces employment for the least-skilled while having little to no effect on poverty rates.”
Another study by a left-leaning group found that “the weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage.”
A study by the Congressional Budget Office found that gradually upping the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would increase the wages for 17 million workers, but another 1.3 million workers would lose their jobs.
Rep. Scott doesn’t disagree that some workers would work less or lose their jobs. He notes “somebody that’s working 10 months may only work nine months, but they would be making twice as much money during those nine months than they were, so they would be much better off.”
A key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign
With Congress not expected to act on the bill, the issue is instead playing out on the 2020 campaign trail. Nearly every Democratic candidate has expressed their support for a national $15-an-hour minimum wage with Fight for $15 being an important group in the Democratic primary.
Even President Trump has said he is looking at a federal minimum wage increase (but threatened to veto the Democrats’ bill for a $15-an-hour wage). On the 2016 campaign trail, he proposed an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The move would effectively bump the wages of working families at the lowest-wage levels.
Scott noted that the issue could be a good one for Democrats. “If we’re going to set the tone that Democrats — all of the candidates — are in favor of a significant increase in the minimum wage, and all the Republicans are against it,” he says, “the workers can decide who is on the side of the workers, and who is not.”
As Amalgamated Bank’s Mestrich says, “The economy’s been on fire now for a very, very long time. But many of the rewards have really gone to the people at the top of the ladder, not to the people at the bottom.”
Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.
Eddie Gallagher was acquitted after a war crimes prosecution in the murder of a 17-year-old of Isis prisoner, but convicted of posing with his corpse. He was demoted by military authorities until the intervention of Mr Trump, who invited him to his Florida estate.
Now, it has been revealed former colleagues of the man who once led the Team 7 Alpha Platoon, described him in disturbing ways, according to testimony provided to the war crimes investigators and obtained by the New York Times.
Special Operator First Class Craig Miller said of Mr Gallagher: “The guy is freaking evil.”
Another member of the platoon, Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, said Mr Gallagher was “perfectly OK with killing anybody that was moving”. Special Operator First Class Joshua Vriens told investigators: “The guy was toxic.”
The prosecution of Mr Gallagher over alleged offences committed in Iraq in 2017, was a painful episode for the Navy SEALs, one of the nation’s most celebrated fighting outfits.
To some, Mr Gallagher, 40, had breached what was acceptable even amid the chaos and violence of warfare. To others he was nothing less than a hero.
Mr Trump, the nation’s commander-in-chief, was very much in the second category. When the navy sought to demote Mr Gallagher and remove his Trident Pin, awarded to all SEALs who qualify, the president publicly intervened.
In a November tweet, Mr Trump wrote: “The navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”
The New York Times said the material it had obtained included thousands of text messages the SEALs sent to each other about the events and the prosecution. While Mr Gallagher has attacked his superiors in the navy on Fox News, his platoon members have not commented publicly.
Mr Miller said he felt forced to pose with other US fighters as they stood over the dead body of one of the Isis prisoners, as Mr Gallagher grabbed his hair and held up a hunting knife.
“I think Eddie was proud of it, and that was, like, part of it for him,” Mr Miller told investigators.
Over the holidays, Mr Gallagher was hosted by Mr Trump at his Florida property.
Photos posted to the Instagram account Mr Gallagher shares with his wife Andrea, showed the couple smiling alongside Mr Trump and first lady Melania.
“Finally got to thank the President and his amazing wife by giving them a little gift from Eddie’s deployment to Mosul,” said a post.
In November, Mr Gallagher told Fox News of his prosecution: “This is all about ego and retaliation. This is nothing about good order and discipline.”
Mr Trump reversed Mr Gallagher’s punishment and restored his rank on November 15, when he granted clemency to the SEAL and pardoned two Army officers. He later intervened again, when the navy sought to remove his pin. Mr Gallagher retired with his rank on November 30.
The president tweeted: “He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges.”
Key Point: Imagine Kim as an energy tycoon? The “hermit kingdom” of North Korea has struggled to feed its own people in recent years, let alone sustain its energy needs. Yet with reports emerging of the hard-line Communist state’s potential oil and gas resources, South Korea and other U.S. allies in the region may soon face a far more capable military adversary.Writing in the petroleum geoscience publication GEOExPro, exploration consultant Mike Rego suggests that the secretive Asian state offers “good hydrocarbon potential, both on and offshore…for those who are prepared to take ‘first mover advantage’ the rewards are there to be had.”Rego points to the “relatively low cost and low risk exploration opportunities in a low competition environment, with nearby energy-hungry markets” as adding to the exploration potential.North Korea is currently reliant on Chinese and Russian fuel imports, which Rego considers surprising given the “abundant evidence for the presence of working hydrocarbon systems both onshore and offshore, and past exploration efforts dating back to the 1970s.”The state reportedly has seven underexplored geological basins, with three basins said to have “proven working petroleum systems,” although only twenty-two wells have been drilled.Rego identifies the offshore West Korea Bay Basin and East Sea Basin, along with five onshore basins as offering exploration potential. According to Rego, the West Korea Bay Basin has seen the most foreign involvement, principally Chinese and Russian. At least ten exploration wells have been drilled in the West Sea, with some showing “good oil shows” along with the identification of a number of potential reservoirs.“The West Sea definitely has oil, and has flowed oil at reasonable rates from at least two exploration wells when they were drilled and tested in the 1980s,” Rego told NK News.Meanwhile, the East Sea has seen Russian exploration efforts previously including the drilling of two wells, “both of which encountered encouraging shows of oil and gas.”Read the original article.