A brief U.S. government shutdown ended on Friday after Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law a wide-ranging deal that is expected to push budget deficits into the $1 trillion-a-year zone. The bill was approved by a wide margin in the Senate and survived a rebellion of 67 conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives thanks to the support of some Democrats. Those conservatives were mainly angry about non-military spending increases. Trump's signature brought an end to a partial government shutdown - or closure of federal agencies - that had been triggered in the early hours of Friday as Congress was still debating the budget deal. It was the second shutdown this year under the Republican-controlled Congress and Trump, who played little role in attempts by party leaders this week to end months of fiscal squabbling. In a Twitter post that acknowledged the misgivings of fiscal conservatives, the Republican president said after signing the measure, … [Read more...] about Trump signs deal to end brief government shutdown, increase U.S. spending
U s defense spending
Minh Pham, 33, broke down in tears after expressing regret in a New York courtroom and recognizing the severity of his punishment in America five months after pleading guilty to terrorism charges. A Muslim convert who left Vietnam as a baby and spent most of his life in Britain, Pham travelled to Yemen in December 2010 to receive military training from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a group that has claimed repeated attacks on the West. He returned to Britain, where he had left behind his 8-months-pregnant wife, in July 2011 after offering to carry out a suicide attack and being instructed to bomb civilians arriving at London's busiest airport from Israel or America, the court heard. "I made a very serious mistake," Pham told Judge Alison Nathan before choking up at the prospect of spending decades in a maximum-security American jail separated from his family. Dressed in navy prison scrubs, an orange T-shirt and orange canvas shoes, he denied that he had ever intended to … [Read more...] about Vietnamese-born Al-Qaeda recruit sentenced to 40 years in U.S.
Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh told Reuters possible weapons buys were part of a long-planned strengthening of Vietnamese-U.S. relations across economic, political, cultural and security fronts. "We are not sure what we can buy from the U.S. or what we want to buy," Vinh said in some of the first public comments from a Vietnamese defense official since U.S. President Barack Obama lifted the embargo in Hanoi last month. "It is at a very, very first step, I should stress," he said. "The removal of the embargo is not just significant in terms of trade, but also in terms of improving high-level trust and confidence." An evolving military relationship between the United States and Vietnam is being closely watched across the region as Hanoi seeks to deter its giant neighbor China over its more asserted stance on claims in the disputed South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea). The United States is eyeing closer military relations with Hanoi as it seeks to expand its so-called strategic … [Read more...] about Vietnamese general says first purchase of U.S. weapons some way off
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would ban transgender people from the U.S. military, a move appealing to some in his conservative political base but creating uncertainty about the fate of thousands of transgender service members. The surprise announcement by Trump, who as a presidential candidate last year vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, came in a series of morning Twitter posts. It drew condemnation from rights groups and some lawmakers in both parties as politically motivated discrimination but was praised by conservative activists and some Republicans. The administration has not determined whether transgender individuals already serving in the military would be immediately thrown out, a point the White House and Pentagon have yet to decide, Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. A transgender ban would reverse Democratic former President Barack Obama's policy and halts years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on … [Read more...] about Trump to ban transgender U.S. military personnel, reversing Obama
U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States remained committed to NATO's mutual defense pledge, after he failed to endorse it in a speech in Brussels last month.Amid worries by Washington's European partners that the U.S. leader had not fully bought into the Atlantic alliance, Trump told reporters: "I'm committing the United States to Article Five. Certainly we are there to protect.""That's one of the reasons that I want people to make sure we have a very, very strong force, by paying the kinds of money necessary to have that force," Trump told a joint press conference with visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.The U.S. president stunned Europe's leaders at a summit in Brussels on May 25 when he failed to publicly back the now 29-member bloc's founding mutual defense guarantee.Instead he castigated the allies for failing to pay their way with contributions to NATO forces, singling out especially Germany.According to Politico, Trump's defense and security … [Read more...] about Trump says US committed to NATO’s mutual defense pledge
Vietnam is the world's eight largest weapons importer; its defense budget ($4.4 billion in 2015) and military spending are increasing, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. "Thanks to its growing military budget and its strained relations with China, Vietnam has become a major Russian weapons buyer" in recent years, Richard Weitz wrote for the National Interest. In addition, Hanoi "has arguably been Russia's closest strategic partner in Southeast Asia," he added. This trend, many agree, will likely remain intact. "Russia has always been willing to get them whatever they required," Collin Koh of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore told Bloomberg. "Vietnam is not going to want to jeopardize that relationship." Andrey Frolov, editor-in-chief of the Export Vooruzheny magazine, suggested that Obama's decision was more of a formality that will not really change anything. "I think that it has more to do with a legal basis that would … [Read more...] about Ties that bind: Why U.S. lifting arms ban on Vietnam could be good for Russia
The United States threw itsweight on Saturday behind a push by Japan to take a more active role inregional security and bluntly warned China to halt destabilizing actionsin support of territorial claims. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers the opening keynote address for the 13th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore May 30, 2014. Using unusually stronglanguage, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told an Asia-Pacificsecurity forum that the United States was committed to its geopoliticalrebalance to the region and "will not look the other way whenfundamental principles of the international order are being challenged". "In recent months, China has undertaken destabilizing, unilateralactions asserting its claims in the South China Sea," he said in thespeech to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. … [Read more...] about U.S. backs Japan’s Abe, tells China to stop destabilizing actions
The White House of President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. will develop an advanced missile defense system to defend better against attacks from countries like North Korea and Iran, source from the Yonhap."President Trump will end the defense sequester and submit a new budget to Congress outlining a plan to rebuild our military," the White House said on its website, referring to the automatic cuts in defense spending."We will provide our military leaders with the means to plan for our future defense needs," it said. "We will also develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system to protect against missile-based attacks from states like Iran and North Korea." Trump took the office of office as the 45th president earlier in the day.His inauguration came after North Korea has sharply ratcheted up tensions, with leader Kim Jong-un saying in his New Year's Day address that the regime has entered the final stage of preparations to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic … [Read more...] about Trump’s White House vows to develop missile defense system to defend against N. Korea
Chinese military spending exceeded $145 billion last year asit advanced a program modernizing an arsenal of drones, warships, jets,missiles and cyber weapons, the Pentagon said on Thursday, offering afar higher figure than Beijing's official tally. Soliders from the honour guards of the Chinese People's Liberation Army march in front of the Monument to the People's Heroes at Tiananment Square. The Pentagon's estimate, using 2013 prices and exchange rates, was 21percent above the $119.5 billion figure announced by China. It wasdetailed in an annual report to Congress that cited steady progress inChinese defense capabilities. It acknowledged that estimating Chinese spending can be difficult, inpart because of "poor accounting transparency and incomplete transitionfrom a command economy." Thereport came just days after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, usingunusually strong language, accused Beijing of … [Read more...] about Chinese military spending exceeds $145 billion, drones advanced: U.S.
The The United States House of Representatives approved on Thursday $606 billion in defense spending for next year after two days of debate that saw lawmakers from both parties line up to condemn the ongoing war in Afghanistan as a waste of lives and money. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (2nd R) speaks with U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker (R) and General John Allen (3rd R), head of the NATO coalition forces in Afghanistan, upon his arrival at Kabul International Airport June 7, 2012. The Republican-dominated House voted 326-90 to approve the annual defense appropriations bill, which includes a Pentagon base budget of $518 billion plus $87.7 billion in spending for the Afghanistan war and other overseas operations, according to the House Appropriations Committee. Lawmakers proposed dozens of bills over two days of debate seeking to reduce spending by cutting war funding or trimming … [Read more...] about US House votes to appropriate $606 billion for defense