Metro-East News

Roger That: North Korea and South Korea in a ‘semi-state of war’

North Korea has reportedly ordered its soldiers to be ready for armed conflict, after giving South Korea a deadline of 48 hours to stop broadcasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts. A report by North Korean state media KCNA said the nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, had declared a “semi-state of war” at an emergency meeting late on Thursday evening, according to a story on Vice News.

The command Kim issued to his enormous army was to be “fully ready for any military operations at any time,” beginning at 3 a.m. CDT Friday, according to KCNA.

Two men in Poland claim to have found a long-forgotten Nazi train filled with treasure whose existence was long thought to be a myth, the Associated press has reported.

The two men, one German and one Polish, are demanding 10 percent of the train’s value in exchange for telling authorities its location near the city of Walbrzych, in western Poland. The train's existence, which has never been definitively proven, has long been part of popular Polish mythology since the end of World War II.

The Defense Department agency overseeing traumatic brain injury research for service members and veterans has not published exact statistics on the injuries out of concern it would aid the enemy and confuse the American public, according to Military.com.

Kathy Helmick, deputy director of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center in Maryland, said the agency has rarely given out the numbers on individuals who suffered TBI during a deployment because it considered the data an operational security matter.

“There was not some big cover-up. It was just a choice (the center) made at some point,” Helmick told Military.com following its report last week that a Congressional Research Service report on Iraq and Afghanistan war casualties included specific numbers on war dead, wounded, amputations and diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, but not TBI.

U.S. special operations forces in Iraq developed an untraceable explosive device they nicknamed the Xbox to kill Iraqi Shiite militiamen smuggling roadside bombs from Iran to attack American troops, according to a new book, which is the subject of a story in Bloomberg.

Starting in about 2007, Army Delta Force commandos in a special task force in the war to oust Saddam Hussein used the bombs against Iranian collaborators whose improvised explosive devices were powerful enough to destroy the most heavily armored U.S. vehicles, Sean Naylor wrote in “Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command.”

The Xbox bomb “was designed to look and behave exactly like one made by Iraqi insurgents” with a hodgepodge of Russian, Chinese and Pakistani-made parts, wrote Naylor, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy. The intent was that if the device were sent to the FBI for analysis, even its experts “would mistakenly trace the bomb back” to a particular terrorist bomb maker, he said.

Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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