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US-South Korea set for divisive military drills

The US and South Korea are conducting annual military drills which consistently infuriate Pyongyang, despite appeals to halt the exercise. Last week North Korea appeared to back down from a threat to send missiles towards the US Pacific island of Guam, but said it would watch US actions. It has already condemned these drills as pouring “gasoline on fire”. Washington describes the drills as defensive in nature, but the North sees them as preparation for invasion. China and Russia earlier proposed a halt on military exercises in exchange for a…

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US military to shoot down consumer drones

The Pentagon has given US military bases permission to shoot down or otherwise destroy consumer drones flying overhead and nearby. A spokesman revealed that guidance was issued on 4 August. He said the exact terms of the policy were classified. The move comes days after the US Army ordered its own troops to stop using drones made by Chinese manufacturer DJI because of alleged “cyber-vulnerabilities”. Privacy worries It became illegal to fly personal drones within 400ft (122m) of the US’s 133 military facilities in April. The Federal Aviation Administration announced…

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Trump: Transgender people 'can't serve' US military

US President Donald Trump says transgender people cannot serve in “any capacity” in the military. He tweeted that he had consulted with military experts and cited “tremendous medical costs and disruption”. The Obama administration decided last year to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military. But in June, Defence Secretary James Mattis agreed to a six-month delay in the recruitment of transgender people. Some Republicans have voiced opposition to allowing transgender people to serve at all. The independent Rand Corporation estimated in 2016 that 2,450 of the 1.2…

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South Korea proposes rare military talks with North Korea

South Korea has proposed holding military talks with the North, after weeks of heightened tension following Pyongyang’s long range missile test. If they were to go ahead, they would be the first high-level talks since 2015. A senior official said talks should aim to stop “all hostile activities that raise military tension” at the fortified border between the Koreas. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has long signalled his intention to drive closer engagement with the North. In a recent speech in Berlin, he said dialogue with the North was more…

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Marines identify 16 service members killed in military plane crash

The U.S. Marines Corps released the names of fifteen Marines and one Navy corpsman killed in a military plane crash on Monday. The Marine Corps KC-130 transport plane was flying from the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina, to the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, California, when it crashed in a field in LeFlore County, Mississippi, about 85 miles north of Jackson. While an investigation is underway to determine what caused the KC-130 to go down, Marines Forces Reserves said the plane vanished from air traffic…

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North Korea missile: US says it will use military force 'if we must'

The US has said that it will use its “considerable military forces” on North Korea “if we must”. Describing the North’s latest missile test as a sharp military escalation, the US ambassador to the United Nations said the US will table a new resolution against Pyongyang. Ambassador Nikki Haley also threatened to use trade restrictions. The missile launch, the latest in a series of tests, was in defiance of a ban by the UN Security Council. North Korea’s actions were “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution,” Ms…

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US military drops 'mother of all bombs on IS' in Afghanistan

Media playback is unsupported on your device The US military says it has dropped a 21,600lb (9,800kg) bomb on a tunnel complex used by Islamic State militants in Afghanistan. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), known as “the mother of all bombs”, is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used by the US in a conflict. The Pentagon said it was dropped from a US aircraft in Nangarhar province. The news came hours after the Pentagon admitted an air strike in Syria mistakenly killed 18 rebels. It said a…

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