News Briefs – April 20, 2018


Ex-Russian officer’s convictions upheld in U.S. forces attack

A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of a former Russian military officer who received a life sentence for leading a 2009 Taliban attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled April 18 in the case of Irek Hamidullin, who led the attack on behalf of the Taliban and an allied terrorist organization, the Haqqani Network.
Hamidullin’s lawyer argued he was a solider, not a criminal, and was entitled to protections as a prisoner of war until a military tribunal determined his status.
But a three-judge panel of the appeals court agreed with the Justice Department’s argument that he was not entitled to combatant immunity. AP

Trump slams California governor over U.S. troops at border

President Donald Trump is accusing California’s governor of “trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border.”
Democrat Jerry Brown has said he’s nearing agreement on the state joining Trump’s large-scale deployment along the Mexican border.
Brown’s office said April 17 that nothing’s changed since the governor pledged 400 troops last week and that California is waiting on a response to proposed contract that would include a ban on any activities related to immigration enforcement.
Trump tweets that Californians “are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!”
He also says there’s a “Revolution” in the state and “Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept.”
San Diego County supervisors voted April 17 to back the administration’s lawsuit against the state’s sanctuary law. AP

China sends warning to Taiwan with naval drills near island

China’s navy is holding live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in a warning to the self-ruled island against seeking formal independence after moves by the U.S. to increase support for Taiwan’s government.
Few details about the April 18 drills have been released by the Chinese government. State broadcaster China Central Television reported Wednesday that the exercises targeted advocates of independence for Taiwan, saying in a headline on its website, “Don’t say you haven’t been warned!”
The Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to questions. The maritime safety authority in the coastal province of Fujian announced the Taiwan Strait one-day drill last week.
The announcement coincided with President Xi Jinping’s attendance at a massive fleet review April 12 in the South China Sea off the coast of Hainan province. AP