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Forty fighters 'neutralised' in drone strikes in Niger

Al Jazeera

French drone strikes have killed nearly 40 fighters earlier travelling on motorcycles near Niger's border with Burkina Faso, France's military said on Thursday. In a statement, the French military called the strikes a "new tactical success" for France's counterterrorism efforts in Africa's Sahel region, named Operation Barkhane. "Intelligence obtained from Nigerien units in contact with the column confirmed that the motorcycles belonged to an armed terrorist group moving between Burkina Faso and Niger," Barkhane said in the statement. "In close coordination with Niger's Armed Forces, the Barkhane force conducted several strikes against the column. Nearly 40 terrorists were neutralised."

The unexpected magic of an Arya Stark-Bugs Bunny team-up is 'MultiVersus' sweet spot


Based on early appearances, you should expect the unexpected when characters from Game of Thrones, Looney Tunes, and other popular Warner Bros. franchises team up and scrap together in WB Interactive Entertainment's upcoming MultiVersus. The "platform fighter" from the developers at Player First Games is built like a gaming sandbox where magical moments of play emerge from happy accidents and inventive players. The wascally wabbit can toss a projectile-blocking safe on the ground, but it's also a physics-based object that can be moved -- which means a punch can knock it into other players. Arya Stark, meanwhile, steps into the battlefield armed with a throwing knife that she can teleport herself over to, even if a teammate -- or, say, a cartoon safe -- is touching it. "Bugs Bunny will knock the safe up in the air and [Arya] will throw the dagger and teleport to the safe...and then re-direct it."

Driven from city life to jungle insurgency

The Japan Times

On jungle crests about 1 mile from the front lines in eastern Myanmar, a former hotel banquet coordinator slipped his index finger onto the trigger of an assault rifle. A dentist recalled picking larvae from a young fighter's infected bullet wound. A marketing manager described the adapted commercial drones she is directing to foil the enemy. More than a year after Myanmar's military seized full control in a coup -- imprisoning the nation's elected leaders, killing more than 1,700 civilians and arresting at least 13,000 more -- the country is at war, with some unlikely combatants in the fray. On one side is a military junta that, apart from a brief interlude of semidemocratic governance, has ruled with brutal force for a half-century.

Hidden Pentagon records reveal patterns of failure in deadly U.S. airstrikes

The Japan Times

Shortly before 3 a.m. on July 19, 2016, U.S. Special Operations forces bombed what they believed were three Islamic State (IS) group "staging areas" on the outskirts of Tokhar, a riverside hamlet in northern Syria. They reported 85 fighters killed. In fact, they hit houses far from the front line, where farmers, their families and other local people sought nighttime sanctuary from bombing and gunfire. More than 120 villagers were killed. In early 2017 in Iraq, an American war plane struck a dark-colored vehicle, believed to be a car bomb, stopped at an intersection in the Wadi Hajar neighborhood of West Mosul. Actually, the car had been bearing not a bomb but a man named Majid Mahmoud Ahmed, his wife and their two children, who were fleeing the fighting nearby. They and three other civilians were killed. In November 2015, after observing a man dragging an "unknown heavy object" into an IS "defensive fighting position," U.S. forces struck a building in Ramadi, Iraq. A military review found that the object was actually "a person of small stature" -- a child -- who died in the strike. None of these deadly failures resulted in a finding of wrongdoing. These cases are drawn from a hidden Pentagon archive of the American air war in the Middle East since 2014. The trove of documents -- the military's own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties, obtained by The New York Times -- lays bare how the air war has been marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children, a sharp contrast to the U.S. government's image of war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs. The documents show, too, that despite the Pentagon's highly codified system for examining civilian casualties, pledges of transparency and accountability have given way to opacity and impunity. In only a handful of cases were the assessments made public. Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action. Fewer than a dozen condolence payments were made, even though many survivors were left with disabilities requiring expensive medical care. Documented efforts to identify root causes or lessons learned are rare. The air campaign represents a fundamental transformation of warfare that took shape in the final years of the Obama administration, amid the deepening unpopularity of the forever wars that had claimed more than 6,000 American service members. The United States traded many of its boots on the ground for an arsenal of aircraft directed by controllers sitting at computers, often thousands of kilometers away. President Barack Obama called it "the most precise air campaign in history." This was the promise: America's "extraordinary technology" would allow the military to kill the right people while taking the greatest possible care not to harm the wrong ones. The IS caliphate ultimately crumbled under the weight of American bombing.

Top Pakistan Taliban Commander Escapes Suspected Drone Strike

International Business Times

A top leader of the Pakistan Taliban escaped unhurt from a suspected drone strike on a safe house in eastern Afghanistan, the militant group said Friday. The strike on Thursday evening came a week after a ceasefire between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the government collapsed, with militants accusing Islamabad of killing its fighters. The TTP -- a separate movement but sharing common roots with Afghanistan's new leaders -- plunged Pakistan into a period of horrific violence after forming in 2007. Two TTP sources currently in Afghanistan told AFP that Maulvi Faqir Mohammad was the target of what they described as a drone strike on a compound in Chawgam village, in the eastern province of Kunar bordering Pakistan. "Maulvi Faqir Mohammad was not present at the time... two fighters of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan were wounded," one source said.

CENTCOM confirms drone strike targeted Al-Qaeda leader in Syria

FOX News

The House minority leader blasted Democratic leadership, saying the current policy is'creating another Syria' in the Middle East. The United States military conducted a drone strike in Syria targeting a senior al-Qaeda leader and planner, a CENTCOM spokesperson says. "U.S. forces conducted a kinetic strike near Idlib, Syria, December 3, targeting a senior al-Qaeda leader and planner," CENTCOM spokesperson Captain Bill Urban told Fox News Digital in a statement. "The strike was conducted using a precision strike method from MQ-9 aircraft." Urban added that an "initial review of this strike indicates the potential for possible civilian casualties."

'Call of Duty: Vanguard' is bloody, exciting video game fun

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Much has been made about the rich and inclusive story in this year's edition of the popular Call of Duty video game franchise. That may be, but "Call of Duty: Vanguard," out Friday for PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PCs ($59.99-up, You are part of a team of special forces soldiers trying to commandeer a German train buzzing toward Hamburg. You must dodge gunfire from Nazis on both rail lines and German military trucks buzzing between the set of tracks. Your team, led by Sgt.

25 can't-miss game deals from the Steam Halloween Sale


A Steam sale is upon us, folks, and that means just one thing: sifting through literally thousands of deeply discounted games to figure out which ones in particular deserve your hard-earned cash. If you're short on time, take a gander at our recommendations below. Since it's Halloween, they're heavy on horror, but just about anyone should be able to find something they can enjoy. Note that most of these selections are decidedly adults-only: Let the kids get their spooks in Minecraft. Half-Life is a genre-defining staple of both first-person shooters and horror games, but 23 years later, it's not exactly looking like a spring chicken.

Kingdom Hearts' Sora is the final 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate' fighter


Nintendo has finalized the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster with the reveal of one last DLC fighter. Director Masahiro Sakurai revealed that Sora from Kingdom Hearts is joining the ranks. Sora is nimble and a skilled airborne fighter, but he's very light, so it's easy to launch him. Before the stream, Sakurai noted on Twitter (per Google Translate) that "new fighter may be a character you don't know." That dashed many fans' hopes that the fighter would be Waluigi or, as was previously rumored, Master Chief from Halo, though Sora isn't exactly an unknown quantity.

20 years on, the 'war on terror' grinds along with no end in sight

The Japan Times

When U.S. President Joe Biden told an exhausted nation on Aug. 31 that the last C-17 cargo plane had left Taliban-controlled Kabul, ending two decades of American military misadventure in Afghanistan, he defended the frantic, bloodstained exit with a simple statement: "I was not going to extend this forever war." And yet the war grinds on. As Biden drew the curtain on Afghanistan, the CIA was quietly expanding a secret base deep in the Sahara, from which it runs drone flights to monitor al-Qaida and Islamic State group militants in Libya, as well as extremists in Niger, Chad and Mali. The military's Africa Command resumed drone strikes against the Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked group in Somalia. The Pentagon is weighing whether to send dozens of Special Forces trainers back to Somalia to help local troops fight militants.