Japan Boosts Philippines' Maritime Defense with Patrol Vessels;Families of Marines Sue Over 2022 Osprey Crash;Sean Kingston's Home Raided by SWAT; Mother Arrested:Defense Briefing20240524

Welcome to our 《Defense Briefing》 program, I’m your host: Liang Jun. Today, we have a lineup of compelling stories for you. First up, Japan is making waves in the Asia-Pacific region by selling patrol vessels to the Philippines, a move seen as part of Tokyo’s more ‘aggressive diplomacy’ to counter China’s growing influence. This deal marks a significant step in enhancing maritime safety and maintaining a military balance in the region. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the implications of this strategic partnership. Next, we turn to a heartbreaking yet significant development involving the families of Marines killed in the 2022 Osprey crash in California. They have filed a lawsuit against the aircraft’s manufacturers, alleging that known mechanical failures were not addressed, leading to the fatal accident. This lawsuit brings to light ongoing concerns about the safety and design of the Osprey aircraft. Finally, in a twist of celebrity news, rapper Sean Kingston’s home was recently raided by SWAT, leading to the arrest of his mother on fraud and theft charges. Kingston, who is currently on probation, finds himself in the spotlight for reasons beyond his music career. We’ll explore the details of this case and its broader implications. Please stay tuned for the detailed coverage of these stories.

South China Morning Post: The Philippines’ acquisition of Japanese patrol vessels amid escalating South China Sea tensions signals Tokyo’s expanding role as a regional security provider, analysts say. This move, backed by a $507 million Official Development Aid loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency, marks Japan’s largest deal with the Philippine maritime law enforcement agency. Experts like Mark Cogan from Kansai Gaidai University emphasize Japan’s strategic necessity to confront China through deterrence and “aggressive diplomacy,” especially as the US remains distracted by conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. Japan’s updated National Security Strategy and National Defence Strategy reflect this shift, aiming to foster reliable regional partnerships. Historically, Japan has cultivated bilateral ties with Southeast Asian nations, extending from economic to security cooperation, and has recently committed to providing military aid to countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Fiji. Despite China’s criticism of Japan’s military build-up, regional countries view Tokyo as a defender of a rules-based order rather than a military threat, highlighting Japan’s pacifist stance and long-term engagement in Southeast Asia.

Associated Press: The families of four Marines killed in a June 2022 Osprey crash in California have filed a federal lawsuit against aircraft manufacturers Bell Textron, Boeing, and Rolls Royce, alleging the companies failed to address known mechanical failures. The MV-22 Osprey experienced a catastrophic hard-clutch engagement, a recurring issue since 2010, leading to the deaths of the Marines during routine flight operations. The lawsuit claims the Osprey’s design flaws and failure to meet safety standards contributed to the crash. The aircraft’s interconnected drive shaft and sprag clutch system, intended to balance power between engines, malfunctioned, causing an uncontrollable power surge. The Marine Corps’ investigation concluded the mechanical failure was unpreventable and left the pilots with no recovery options. The crash, which occurred near Glamis, California, killed two pilots and three crew chiefs. Despite ongoing efforts to redesign components to mitigate clutch slippage, the Marine Corps warns that future incidents are possible without significant improvements to the flight control system and drivetrain components.

Yahoo US: In a lawsuit filed by the families of Marines killed in the 2022 Osprey crash, Bell Textron, Boeing, and Rolls Royce are accused of neglecting known mechanical issues that led to the fatal accident. The MV-22 Osprey, which can operate as both a helicopter and an airplane, has been plagued by hard-clutch engagements, a problem that has caused multiple incidents since 2010. The lawsuit highlights the Osprey’s flawed design and failure to meet U.S. safety standards, focusing on the interconnected drive shaft and sprag clutch system that balance the aircraft’s power. The 2022 crash investigation revealed that a dual hard-clutch engagement caused a catastrophic mechanical failure during routine operations, leaving the pilots with no chance to prevent the crash. The incident resulted in the deaths of five Marines and has prompted calls for redesigns to address clutch slippage. As the military continues to investigate other Osprey crashes, including recent accidents off Australia and Japan, the lawsuit underscores the urgent need for improvements to prevent future tragedies.

Associated Press: In a dramatic turn of events, rapper Sean Kingston’s South Florida mansion was raided by a SWAT team, leading to the arrest of his mother, Janice Turner, on charges of fraud and theft. The investigation, which remains ongoing, has not yet clarified if Kingston himself is a target. Kingston, best known for hits like “Beautiful Girls” and collaborations with Justin Bieber, was not present during the raid. His mother, who previously served time for bank fraud, is accused of defrauding a Florida company over the installation of a colossal television system. Despite the controversy, Kingston took to Instagram to assure fans that both he and his mother are fine, although the post was later removed. The case has drawn attention to Kingston’s financial dealings and his mother’s potential involvement in fraudulent activities, casting a shadow over the rapper’s public image.

Associated Press: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito finds himself at the center of controversy once again, this time over an “Appeal to Heaven” flag flown outside his New Jersey vacation home. The flag, which has historical roots dating back to the Revolutionary War, has recently been adopted by the Christian nationalist movement and those who falsely claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen. This revelation has raised concerns about Alito’s impartiality, especially as the Supreme Court faces cases related to the January 6 Capitol attack and former President Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results. The flag’s display has led to calls for Alito to recuse himself from such cases, with critics arguing that it undermines the court’s integrity and raises ethical questions about his ability to remain unbiased.

BBC: In the jungles of Myanmar’s Karenni State, the town of Demoso has become a hub of revolutionary activity, drawing young fighters and activists disillusioned by the military coup that ended the country’s brief flirtation with democracy. Amidst newly erected bamboo shops and cafes, the air is thick with talk of resistance against the military junta. Figures like rapper Novem Thu, who motivates insurgents with his music, embody the spirit of defiance. The insurgency, led by the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF), has pushed the military out of most of the state. In this under-reported conflict, young people fleeing cities navigate an “underground railroad” to join the resistance. Even in the face of violence and hardship, they remain committed to their cause, with some like Dr. Yori and his fiancée Tracy providing medical care in secret hospitals, and others like Maw Hpray Myar using music to offer solace and hope to displaced children. Despite the ongoing war and the sacrifices made, these young revolutionaries are determined to fight for the democratic freedoms they were promised.

Foreign Policy: As tensions between Israel and Hezbollah escalate, the prospect of a full-scale war looms ominously. Amy Mackinnon reports from Kfar Vradim in Israel’s western Galilee region, where the border with Lebanon is a mere nine kilometers away. Hezbollah, heavily armed and backed by Iran, has been launching increasingly sophisticated attacks since the Hamas assault on southern Israel in October 2023. These attacks have included the use of Soviet S-5 rockets and Iranian-made Almas antitank missiles, targeting both military and civilian sites. The Israel Defense Forces have responded with thousands of strikes, but the situation remains volatile, with thousands of people displaced on both sides of the border. The potential for a catastrophic conflict that could engulf the entire region is a growing concern, as highlighted by Sarit Zehavi, a former Israeli military intelligence analyst.

Yahoo US: In a heartwarming moment on the Today show, Savannah Guthrie’s 7-year-old son, Charley, FaceTimed her live on-air to watch the U.S. Navy band perform during Fleet Week. Co-host Hoda Kotb shared the adorable moment with viewers, showing Charley enjoying the music while having breakfast. Guthrie, who is also a mother to 9-year-old daughter Vale, expressed her gratitude for her family and the joy of motherhood. Despite the challenges and moments of doubt she faced before becoming a mother, Guthrie cherishes these special moments with her children, whether it’s a surprise FaceTime call during a live broadcast or a fun outing to a Broadway show.

CBC: Emotions ran high in Monchy-le-Preux, France, as a delegation from Newfoundland and Labrador paid their respects to an unknown Newfoundland soldier whose remains will soon be repatriated. Frank Sullivan, a navy veteran, was moved to tears as he touched the soldier’s coffin, saying, “you’re going home, son.” The repatriation process began with a visit to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and will culminate in a transfer of remains ceremony at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. Premier Andrew Furey and his family also paid their respects, reflecting on the significance of bringing one of their own back home. The unknown soldier will be interred at the Newfoundland National War Memorial on July 1, marking a poignant moment of closure and remembrance for the sacrifices made by Newfoundlanders during the First World War.

The Globe and Mail reports that China initiated “punishment” war games around Taiwan in response to what it calls “separatist acts” by Taiwan’s newly inaugurated President Lai Ching-te. The exercises, involving heavily armed warplanes and mock attacks, are a direct reaction to Lai’s inauguration speech, in which he emphasized Taiwan’s independence from China. Despite Lai’s repeated offers for dialogue, China has consistently rebuffed these overtures. The drills, named “Joint Sword – 2024A,” are being conducted by the Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and include the army, navy, air force, and rocket force. They span the Taiwan Strait and areas around Taiwan-controlled islands such as Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin. State media reported that dozens of fighter jets carrying live missiles and warships participated in these mock strikes. Taiwan’s defense ministry confirmed the involvement of 15 Chinese navy ships, 16 coast guard vessels, and 33 aircraft but noted the absence of live fire drills near Taiwan. The U.S. State and Defense departments urged Beijing to exercise restraint, warning that such actions could escalate tensions and undermine regional peace. Analysts and senior Taiwan officials pointed out that these drills are smaller in scale compared to those held in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei in August 2022. Despite the heightened military activity, Taiwan’s presidential office expressed confidence in its ability to safeguard its territory. Chinese state media declared Lai’s speech harmful and justified the military exercises as necessary countermeasures. The drills are seen as a demonstration of China’s capability to control the seas and deter foreign intervention, with political implications outweighing the military ones.

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