Napoleonic Wars: Road to Brienne; January 27-28

Early on the 27th January 1814, Victor attacked St-Dizier. A few shots were fired, and then General Lanskoi with a handful of Prussians disappeared. At 10:00 O’clock in the morning Napoleon rode to St-Dizier to the plaudits of the inhabitants. But he had used a sledgehammer to crush an egg and now all knew that he himself was once more in the field. However, he heard that Blücher had arrived at Brienne. There might yet be time. He moved swiftly after his quarry.

At Brienne Colonel Müffling, serving on Blücher’s staff as Quartermaster-General, was comfortably lodged in the chậteau that overlooked the town. Of his duties he wrote, ‘I had to prepare everything relating to the great operations, quarters, encampments, marches, partial and general actions…all reports arriving by day or night of the enemies’ movements and all dispositions of deserters and prisoners or spies were immediately communicated to me. The propositions for movements and dispositions for combats and battles emanated from me. I laid them before General Gneisenau…and when he approved my plans we went to the Field Marshal [Blücher] to whom again I had to state the measures proposed, map in hand…The Field Marshal never made any difficulties when the proposals were for an advance or an attack. But at any suggestion of a withdrawal he was apt to become angry.’ Müffling possessed and unerring strategical and tactical sense, at least according to his memoirs published some 30 years later, but sometimes he had difficulty in convincing his slower-witted superiors. He had crossed the Rhine on 1 January 1814 with Blücher’s Army of Silesia, which with the Army of Bohemia formed the Grand Army of the Allies under the supreme command of the Austria General Prince Karl Philipp of Schwarzenberg. At Frankfurt, after Napoleon had rejected their terms, the Allied Sovereigns drew up their plan of campaign. Initially Schwarzenberg with his army, some 200,000 strong, was to hook through Switzerland skirting the headwaters of the Rhine, thrust west through the Belfort Gap between Vosges and Jura Mountains and debouch onto the Plateau of Langres. Once his army was concentrated there the sovereigns would discuss the next step. Blücher with his Army of Silesia on the Middle Rhine was to wait until the Army of Bohemia had entered France, then force a crossing subsequently guard its right flank.

While Schwarzenberg departed on his complicated and circuitous journey, Blücher remained watching the ice flows on the Rhine and chafing at the delay. The Rulers of the Allied powers competed to load him with decorations. The old Field Marshal, now 71 years of age, combined the vitality of a man half his years with the tongue of a bargee. Of his decorations he exclaimed ungratefully, ‘ I look like and old coach horse with all this stuff and up to date it has brought me nothing.’

On New Years Day 1814, against negligible opposition he swept over the icy Rhine, crossing simultaneously at Mannheim, Koblenz and Kaub, scattering some weak French detachments before him. By 12 January he had completed the investment of Mainz and was blockading French garrisons at Metz, Saarlouis, Landau, Thionville and Luxemburg. On that day he wrote to Schwarzenberg, ‘I can give battle with 74,000 men or on the 19th in front of Metz with 90,000.’ Marmont watching the Rhine with 10,000 men fell back. On the 14th Blücher wrote, ’So we are off to Paris. Unless we do something foolish we shall carry all before us.’ And again, ‘My 50,000 Russians will follow me to the end of the earth and my own men are unsurpassed in bravery.’ The Allied army, with army corps composed of varying nationalities, was and integrated European Army such as the world has seldom seen. As often happens in such circumstances, the various allies seemed to dislike each other rather more than they did the French.

Schwarzenberg, after establishing his base at Basle, made his way carefully to the Plateau of Langres, but the impatient Blücher rush on to Nancy leaving much of his army behind him blockading the frontier fortresses. The Austrian general writing to his wife complained, ‘Without placing and considerable force to guard the road from Chậlons to Nancy they [Blücher and Gneisenau] rush on like mad bulls to Brienne. Regardless of their rear and flanks they do nothing but plan fine parties they are going to enjoy in the Palais Royal.’ Schwarzenberg had reason to voice his displeasure. He had started a stately and ponderous advance up the valleys of the Aube and the Marne, but the irrepressible Prussian, instead of protecting his right flank, had cut in ahead of him and now spearheaded an advance to which the Austrian had only agreed with extreme reluctance. Now, owing to his impetuosity, Blücher was in danger of becoming isolated.

However, as Blücher, Gneisenau and Müffling enjoyed the delights of the château at Brienne, the disapproval of their commander troubled them not at all. Their troops were almost entirely Russian and consisted of Sacken’s Corps and Olsufiev’s detachment, also 5,000 men and 24 guns from Langeron’s large corps that was still blockading fortresses near the Rhine. Blücher placed Sacken at Lesmont, some six miles to the north-west, to guard the bridge over the Aude, and quartered Olsufiev in Brienne itself. He left a small detachment at St-Dizier to safeguard the route to Nancy and the east and put another in Arcis-sur-Aude, 18 Miles to the west, to secure its important bridge on the main road to Paris.


SOURCE: NAPOLEON: The Last Campaigns 1813-15; BY James Lawford
CONTRIBUTOR: Martin F. Elkins


Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: Heabani Resolves to Return To Erech [Part 12]; Assyrian

As Zaidu sadly turns and rides away,
The hermit from his cave comes forth to pray:
“Alas! hath all these wilds their charms here lost?
And is my breast with wild ambition tost?
My lonely cot I look upon with shame;
Again I long to seek the fields of fame,
Where luxury my remaining years
May crown, and happiness may find–or tears;
‘Tis true! I should have welcomed the “bar-ru;”[1]
But he hath since returned to Subartu.”[2]
His harp he took from its dust-covered case,
And kissed its carved and well-remembered face;
And tuning it, he glanced toward the wood,
And sang his farewell ode to solitude:

Farewell, ye mountains, woods and trees–
My heart doth long again for joy;
I love your wilds and mossy leas,
But oh, your solitude doth cloy!

I love to see the “bur-khi-is”[3]
Sweep stately o’er the mossy rocks;
And “tsabi”[4] in a wild like this,
Hear the tattoo of red woodchucks.

I love the cries of “lig-bar-ri”[5]
The “nes-i”[6] calling for their prey;
And leaping of the “na-a-li”[7]
That fly in wildest fear away.

I love the “bu-hir-tser-i”[8] all,
“Khar-sa-a-nii sa-qu-u-tu;”[9]
Hear “cu-uts-tsi”[10] with thunder roll
Across the skies within my view.

I love to see the “ca-ca-bi”[11]
Peep through the pine-trees o’er my home,
And watch the wild “tu-ra-a-khi”[12]
And “arme”[13] welcome, to me come.

Farewell! ye solitudes, farewell!
I will not moulder rotting lie
With no one’s lips to wish me well;
O give me immortality!

But what is fame? A bubble blown
Upon the breeze, that bursts its shell,
And all our brightest hopes are flown,
And leaves our solitude a hell.

The holy minstrel bows his head in woe,
And sweeps the harpstrings with a movement slow;
Then lifts his eyes toward the setting sun,
His evening invocation thus begun:

[14]O Samas! to the lifting of my hands
Show favor! unto me thy servant turn!
What man before thy blessed Light withstands?
O thou! what mortal thine own words can learn?
And who can rival them inviolate?
[15]Among the gods no equal thou hast found.
In Heaven who of all the gods is great?
O thou alone! art great through Heaven’s bound!

On earth what man is great? alas! no one,
For thou alone art great! through earth’s vast bounds.
When wide thy awful voice in Heaven resounds,
The gods fall prostrate to our Holy One;
When on the earth thy voice afar resounds,
The genii[16] bow to thee and kiss the dust.
In thee, O Samas! do I put my trust,
For thy great love and mercy wide abounds!

O my Creator, God, thy watchfulness
O’er me, oh may it never cease!
Keep thou the opening of my lips! the fleece
Of purest snow be my soul’s daily dress.
Guard thou my hands! O Samas, Lord of Light!
And ever keep my life and heart aright!

[Footnote 1: “Bar-ru,” an army officer]—[Footnote 2: “Su-bar-tu,” Syria]—[Footnote 3: “Bur-khi-is,” antelopes]—[Footnote 4: “Tsabi,” gazelles]—[Footnote 5: “Lig-bar-ri,” hyenas]—[Footnote 6: “Nes-i,” lions]—[Footnote 7: “Na-a-li,” spotted stags]—[Footnote 8: “Bu-hir-tser-i,” beasts of the field]—[Footnote 9: “Khar-sa-a-nu sa-qu-u-tu,” forests thick]—[Footnote 10: “Cu-uts-tsi,” storms.]—[Footnote 11: “Ca-ca-bi,” stars.]—[Footnote 12: “Tu-ra-a-khi,” deer.]—[Footnote 13: “Arme,” wild goats.]—[Footnote 14: This prayer is made up from Assyrian fragments now in the British Museum.]—[Footnote 15: See “Records of the Past,” vol. iii. p. 136.]—[Footnote 16: “Genii,” spirits.]


SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature (1901)[Alcove 1, Tablet 2, Column 6]Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.

World War Two: Fall of Austria & Czechoslovakia 1938: The Planning

I recently made reference in comparison of the Ukraine crisis to the Munich concession’s that Britain and France  gave to Adolph Hitler allowing him to implement the destruction of the government of Czechoslovakia in 1938. I am sure some are wondering how I came to the comparison, one of the greatest sources of information to the events of those years can be found in the trial documents and in the words of their own testimony, of those who perpetrated the deeds. These occurred at the war trails in Nurnberg 1945-46, to which I now defer. We see the world events as happening today, but we must keep in mind that the events that unfold are not spontaneous, but well thought out and planned.

Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal Nuremberg

14 NOVEMBER 1945 – 1 OCTOBER 1946

VOLUME I: Official Text in the English Language: Official Documents International Military Tribunal

(Details are the following)


COUNT ONE-THE COMMON PLAN OR CONSPIRACY: (Charter, Article 6, especially 6 (a))

  1. Particulars of the Nature and Development of the Common Plan or Conspiracy


  1. Aggressive action against Austria and Czechoslovakia.

(a) The 1936-1938 phase of the plan: planning for the assault on Austria and Czechoslovakia.

The Nazi conspirators next entered upon the specific planning for the acquisition of Austria and Czechoslovakia, realizing it would be necessary, for military reasons, first to seize Austria before assaulting Czechoslovakia. On 21 May 1935, in a speech to the Reichstag, Hitler stated that: “Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria, or to conclude an Anschluss.” On 1 May 1936, within two months after the reoccupation of the Rhineland, Hitler stated: “The lie goes forth again that Germany tomorrow or the day after will fall upon Austria or Czechoslovakia.” Thereafter, the Nazi conspirators caused a treaty to be entered into between Austria and Germany on 11 July 1936, Article 1 of which stated that “The German Government recognizes the full sovereignty of the Federated State of Austria in the spirit of the pronouncements of the German Führer and Chancellor of 21 May 1935.” Meanwhile, plans for aggression in violation of that treaty were being made. By the autumn of 1937, all noteworthy opposition within the Reich had been crushed. Military preparation for the Austrian action was virtually concluded.

An influential group of the Nazi conspirators met with Hitler on 5 November 1937, to review the situation. It was reaffirmed that Nazi Germany must have “Lebensraum” in central Europe. It was recognized that such conquest would probably meet resistance which would have to be crushed by force and that their decision might lead to a general war, but this prospect was discounted as a risk worth taking. There emerged from this meeting three possible plans for the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia. Which of the three was to be used was to depend upon the developments in the political and military, situation in Europe. It was contemplated that the conquest of Austria and Czechoslovakia would, through compulsory emigration of 2,000,000 persons from Czechoslovakia and 1,000,000 persons from Austria, provide additional food to the Reich for 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 people, strengthen it militarily by providing shorter and better frontiers, and make possible the constituting of new armies up to about twelve divisions. Thus, the aim of the plan against Austria and Czechoslovakia was conceived of not as an end in itself but as a preparatory measure toward the next aggressive steps in the Nazi conspiracy.

(b) The execution of the plan to invade Austria: November 1937 to March 1938.

Hitler, on 8 February 1938, called Chancellor Schuschnigg to a conference at Berchtesgaden. At the meeting of 12 February 1938, under threat of invasion, Schuschnigg yielded a promise of amnesty to imprisoned Nazis and appointment of Nazis to ministerial posts. He agreed to remain silent until Hitler’s 20 February speech in which Austria’s independence was to be reaffirmed, but Hitler in his speech, instead of affirming Austrian independence, declared himself protector of all Germans. Meanwhile, underground activities of Nazis in Austria increased. Schuschnigg, on 9 March 1938, announced a plebiscite on the question of Austrian independence.

On 11 March Hitler sent an ultimatum, demanding that the plebiscite be called off or that Germany would invade Austria. Later the same day a second ultimatum threatened invasion unless Schuschnigg should resign in three hours. Schuschnigg resigned. The Defendant SEYSS-INQUAT, who was appointed-Chancellor, immediately invited Hitler to send German troops into Austria to “preserve order”. The invasion began on 12 March 1938.

On 13 March, Hitler by proclamation assumed office as Chief of State of Austria and took command of its armed forces. By a law of the same date Austria was annexed to Germany.

(c) The execution of the plan to invade Czechoslovakia: April 1938 to March 1939.

    1. Simultaneously with their annexation of Austria the Nazi conspirators gave false assurances to the Czechoslovak Government that they would not attack that country. But within a month they met to plan specific ways and means of attacking Czechoslovakia, and to revise, in the Light of the acquisition of Austria, the previous plans for aggression against Czechoslovakia.
    2. On 21 April 1938, the Nazi conspirators met and prepared to launch an attack on Czechoslovakia not later than 1 October 1938. They planned specifically to create an “incident” to “justify” the attack. They decided to launch a military attack only after a period of diplomatic squabbling which, growing more serious, would lead to the excuse for war, or, in the alternative, to unleash a Lightning attack as a result of an “incident” of their own creation. Consideration was given to assassinating the German Ambassador at Prague to create the requisite incident. From and after 21 April 1938, the Nazi conspirators caused to be prepared detailed and precise military plans designed to carry out such an attack at any opportune moment and calculated to overcome all Czechoslovak resistance within four days, thus presenting the world with a fait accompli, and so forestalling outside resistance. Throughout the months of May, June, July, August, and September, these plans were made more specific and detailed, and by 3 September 1938, it was decided that all troops were to be ready for action on 28 September 1938.
    3. Throughout this same period, the Nazi conspirators were agitating the minorities question in Czechoslovakia, and particularly in the Sudetenland, leading to a diplomatic crisis in August and September 1938. After the Nazi conspirators threatened war the United Kingdom and France concluded a pact with Germany and Italy at Munich on 29 September 1938, involving the cession of the Sudetenland by Czechoslovakia to Germany. Czechoslovakia was required to acquiesce. On 1 October 1938, German troops occupied the Sudetenland.
    4. On 15 March 1939, contrary to the provisions of the Munich Pact itself, the Nazi conspirators caused the completion of their plan by seizing and occupying the major part of Czechoslovakia not ceded to Germany by the Munich Pact.


SOURCE: Trial of Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal Nurnberg 1945-46 (LOC)

World News Headlines: 11-30-2018

Germany (DW)Angela Merkel to miss start of G20 summit after plane’s technical difficulties; A plane carrying the German chancellor had to turn around and land in Cologne after only an hour in the air due to a technical difficulty. The plane has experienced several issues in the past few months.

(DW)Angela Merkel sidesteps military aid to Ukraine; German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned Russia for seizing three Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov. But she failed to offer any military support to Ukraine or further economic sanctions against Russia. Angela Merkel has reiterated Germany’s support for Ukraine in the ongoing standoff between Russia and Ukraine over three ships seized on Sunday, though she did not threaten any further action against Russia, either in terms of military aid or sanctions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko took to Germany’s Bild newspaper to ask Merkel to send navy ships to the Sea of Azov “to provide security,” and accused Russia of wanting “nothing less than to occupy the sea.” Speaking at the third German-Ukrainian Economic Forum on Thursday, the German chancellor did not offer any direct answer to Poroshenko’s request. Instead, the chancellor reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to Ukraine, and put the blame for the current crisis squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin. She pointed out that Russia and Ukraine agreed a shipping treaty in 2003 that grants both countries full use of the Kerch Strait leading into the Sea of Azov, although both sides also have rights of inspection in the waters. A bridge that Russia built to the annexed Crimean Peninsula has impeded the free movement of ships, Merkel said.
“Since this bridge was opened in May this year, shipping conditions have worsened,” the chancellor complained. “Of course I want the facts of what happened to be put on the table, that the soldiers are set free, and that their confessions aren’t forced out of them, as we saw on TV now.”

(DW) Germany detects new cyberattack targeting politicians, military; The Russian hacker group “Snake” has reportedly hacked email accounts of several German officials. The cyberattack was detected nearly a year after the group allegedly accessed Germany’s government network.German security officials discovered fresh cyberattacks on the email inboxes belonging to several members of German parliament, the German military and several embassies, news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday. The report said Germany’s domestic security service, BfV, discovered the attacks on November 14.

(DW) German police raid Deutsche Bank over suspected money laundering; A money laundering probe stemming from the “Panama Papers” has led police to Deutsche Bank, according to authorities. Prosecutors believe the bank helped clients “transfer money from criminal activities” to tax havens. Federal police on Thursday raided the Frankfurt offices of Deutsche Bank. The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said the raids stemmed from an investigation into suspected money laundering at the German bank. About 170 law enforcement agents took part in the operation. The investigation revolves around multiple Deutsche Bank employees, including two believed to still be working at the financial institution. Deutsche Bank said it was “fully cooperating” with authorities. “The case is related to the Panama Papers,” a spokesperson said.According to prosecutors, Deutsche Bank is suspected of helping some 900 customers set up offshore shell companies in tax havens to “transfer money from criminal activities.” They said some €311 million ($354 million) are believed to have been laundered, citing information gleaned from the so-called Panama Papers. Markus Meinzer, financial secrecy director at the Tax Justice Network, told DW he was “surprised that German officials would finally take action” on information garnered from the Panama Papers. “It has been two years that they’ve been analyzing these files,” Meinzer said. “We have seen in other situations that German prosecutors took very long to take action” against tax avoidance schemes and financial crimes. The Panama Papers data leak comprised some 11.5 million documents, which were leaked anonymously to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015. At least 28 German entities were identified in the leak, according to reports at the time, including Deutsche Bank.

(DW) Amazon investigated for ‘abuse’ by German antitrust authorities; After logging “numerous” complaints from sellers on Amazon’s marketplace, Germany’s competition watchdog is now taking aim at the e-commerce giant. It’s the latest blow to Amazon, which already faces a similar EU probe.Germany’s competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, launched an investigation on Thursday into alleged “abuse” by e-commerce giant Amazon. Citing “numerous complaints” from third-party sellers on Amazon’s German website,, the Bundeskartellamt said it would be looking into whether the company was exploiting its market dominance to obstruct competition. “Its double role as the largest retailer and largest marketplace has the potential to hinder other sellers on its platform,” the authority’s president, Andreas Mundt, said in a statement. The list of complaints against the US giant is long — with the German watchdog saying it would look into complaints of delayed or withheld payments and blocked accounts. The probe will also look into the site’s product rating system as well as the company’s shipping conditions.

(DW) France rejects German wish for EU seat at UN Security Council; The French Foreign Ministry has said “non merci” to a suggestion by Germany’s finance minister to turn France’s UN Security Council seat into a joint EU one. An attempt to sweeten the deal didn’t work.France pushed backed Thursday against a proposal by German Olaf Scholz, also the vice chancellor, to turn the French seat at the UN Security Council into a join EU seat. “When defending our national positions, we take all European positions into consideration,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We actively participate, together with Germany and all other member states, in the coordination of the EU’s position.” France said it was open to reforming and expanding the Council, however, “in order to allow Germany, as well as Japan, Brazil, India and two African countries, to become permanent members.” France currently holds one of the Security Council’s five permanent seats, alongside the US, Russia, China and the UK. Germany was elected this year as a non-permanent member for 2019-2021. Permanent members have veto power while non-members do not. As a bloc, the EU currently has permanent observer status without voting rights at the UN.

France (France24) Macron to meet Saudi crown prince despite Khashoggi uproar; French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Argentina in what would be a first meeting with a Western leader since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “I’ve always been very clear about the issue of Saudi Arabia and I will inevitably have the opportunity to discuss it with the Saudi crown prince on the sidelines of the G20,” Macron told a news conference with his Argentine counterpart.

(France24) Trump cancels Putin meeting over Ukraine crisis; U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Argentina, registering his disapproval of Russia’s treatment of Ukraine and casting new uncertainty over U.S.-Russian ties. Trump said he pulled out due to tensions over Russian forces opening fire on Ukrainian navy boats and then seizing them and their crew on Sunday near Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

(France24) Security headache as Yellow Vest protesters vow to march on Champs-Élysées; Yellow Vest protesters are calling for a large rally on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris on December 1, despite the government’s attempt to defuse their anger by offering to meet some of the movement’s self-declared representatives. French police is considering the possibility of completely shutting down the famous Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris on Saturday December 1 as Yellow Vest protesters called for another rally in this iconic district, Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday. This plan would mobilise a large number of police forces because there are several side streets leading to the 1.91 kilometres avenue. It would also deal a hard blow to some 110 shops that would lose a key pre-Christmas weekend of shopping.

Japan (NHK) Macron planning talks with Abe; French President Emmanuel Macron is coordinating to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the Nissan-Renault business alliance during the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina. Macron’s office told NHK on Thursday that he aims to schedule his meeting with Abe during the G20 meetings on Friday and Saturday. French newspaper Les Echos says Macron wants to discuss the alliance following the arrest of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn in Japan. Ghosn is the chairman and CEO of Renault. The French government is Renault’s top shareholder and wants Renault’s tie-up with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors to continue and strengthen. But Renault and Nissan reportedly have different views on how to continue the relationship. Les Echos says Macron and Abe will likely try to calm the situation regarding the alliance.

(NHK) China manufacturing data unexpectedly drops; In China, manufacturing growth fell for the fourth straight month in November. The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 50, just on the mark that separates growth from contraction. That’s down two-tenths of a point from October, and the lowest level in more than 2 years. The figure was also below market expectations. Some analysts say US tariffs on Chinese goods are weighing on the economy. Growth in the services industry also weakened. The non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 53.4, down half a point from October. The services sector accounts for more than half of China’s economy.

(NHK) Deutsche Bank money laundering raid; German prosecutors have raided the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. They suspect it was involved in money laundering through so-called overseas tax havens. The prosecutors say the raid is based on their analysis of a massive leak of documents known as the Panama Papers. The documents released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ, shed light on offshore financial transactions by the world’s rich and famous. Deutsche Bank allegedly helped clients set up offshore companies in tax havens to covertly handle the proceeds of illegal activity. Prosecutors say that in 2016 alone, over 900 customers used a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered in the British Virgin Islands. It processed a volume of 311 million euros, or about 354 million dollars. Joerg Eigendorf, Global Head of Communications, Deutsche Bank said: “We thought that we had provided to the authorities all the relevant information regarding Panama Papers. Of course, we will now cooperate closely with the prosecutors here in Frankfurt am Main in Germany.” Deutsche Bank shares were down more than 3 percent on Thursday. They have lost half their value since the start of this year.

(NHK) IOC to hold talks with 2 Koreas early next year; The president of the International Olympic Committee says he will hold talks with the National Olympic Committees and the governments of North and South Korea early next year. Thomas Bach disclosed this in Tokyo at the general assembly of the 206-member Association of National Olympic Committees. The 2-day meeting ended on Thursday. Bach indicated that he will accelerate talks with the 2 Koreas on the formation of joint teams for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Bach referred to the first-ever joint women’s ice hockey team formed by the 2 Koreas for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February. Bach quoted South Korean President Moon Jae-in as saying that the IOC had opened the door to peace talks on the Korean Peninsula. He also quoted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as saying that the Olympic Games shifted the momentum of inter-Korean relations and this can be attributed to the IOC’s efforts. Officials from the National Olympic Committees of the 2 Koreas also attended the meeting in Tokyo. A South Korean official told NHK that they held talks with North Korea’s sports minister Kim Il Guk multiple times on the sidelines of the meeting and proposed fielding more unified teams for the Tokyo Games. The minister is also the chairman of North Korea’s National Olympic Committee.

(NHK) India’s new eye in the sky; India on Thursday launched a surveillance satellite loaded with high-definition cameras. The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, launched the rocket from its space center in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The satellite, along with 30 smaller “co-passenger” satellites, successfully entered orbit at an altitude of 636 kilometers. Organization chairman K Sivan praised his team for the project, saying they are giving “an excellent space asset to India.” Observers say the satellite may be used to keep an eye on the Indian Ocean, where China is increasing its activity, and areas along the country’s border with China. Last year, when the Indian and Chinese militaries were in a standoff for more than 2 months in a mountainous region near their border, China deployed 14 ships to the Indian Ocean to demonstrate its military presence.

(NHK) Fed: Rate hike ‘warranted soon’; The minutes of a meeting of the US Federal Reserve earlier this month show that almost all officials expect an additional interest rate hike next month. But some expressed caution about the pace of future hikes.