North Korea's Fiery Reaction to US Bomber Drill;House of the Dragon Season 2: A War Within?;Irish Catholics' Unsung Heroism on D-Day:Defense Briefing20240607

Welcome to our 《Defense Briefing》 program, I’m your host: Liang Jun. In today’s news, North Korea is on edge after a US B-1B Lancer bomber drill near Seoul, which they may use as an excuse to ramp up their nuclear arsenal. This development has analysts concerned about escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula. Meanwhile, early reactions to the second season of ‘House of the Dragon’ are in, and the reviews are mixed. Some praise the show for being more character-focused, while others feel it’s struggling with its own identity. Fans are eagerly awaiting the premiere on June 16. Lastly, Archbishop Eamon Martin has called for greater recognition of the role Irish Catholics played during the D-Day landings in World War II. Tens of thousands of soldiers from Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State fought bravely, and their contributions are deserving of our gratitude. Please stay tuned for more detailed coverage.

South China Morning Post: The recent deployment of a US B-1B Lancer bomber to the Korean peninsula, intended as a show of force, has analysts concerned that North Korea might use this as a pretext to enhance its nuclear arsenal. The bomber, escorted by South Korean jets, dropped Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) in a drill, marking the first such exercise since 2017. JDAM converts conventional bombs into precise, GPS-guided weapons, capable of targeting North Korea’s underground military tunnels. Analysts like David Maxwell from the Centre for Asia-Pacific Strategy believe this deployment demonstrates the US and South Korean air forces’ ability to strike any target in North Korea with precision. However, North Korea’s history of responding to such drills with missile tests and provocative actions, such as the recent launch of trash-carrying balloons into the South, suggests heightened tensions. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s approval rating is at a record low, and his administration’s response to North Korean provocations has been notably strident, signaling a break from previous policies of peaceful coexistence.

Yahoo US: The second season of “House of the Dragon” has received mixed reviews, with some praising its tighter, character-focused narrative while others criticize its structural inconsistencies. Critics like Matt Neglia from Next Best Picture highlight the increased dramatic tension and personal and political consequences stemming from the war between Team Black and Team Green. Despite an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, some reviewers, such as Kaiya Shunyata from Ebert Voices, feel the season starts strong but loses momentum, leaving them wanting more from the story and characters. Fans are eagerly anticipating the new season, with many expressing excitement on social media. The show promises more murder, sex, and intense drama, but some critics, including those from the New York Post and Rolling Stone, note that it repeats some of the same thrills and mistakes as the first season. The general consensus is that while the season has its flaws, it remains compelling and emotionally charged, setting the stage for an all-out civil war.

BBC: The contributions of Irish Catholics during the D-Day landings are being recognized by the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin. Speaking at the Cambes-en-Plaine war cemetery, where many Royal Ulster Rifles soldiers are buried, Martin emphasized the need to remember the tens of thousands of soldiers from Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State who fought against Nazi Germany. Despite political divisions and a history of neutrality in the Irish Free State, many nationalists joined the British Army. This 80th anniversary of D-Day saw commemorations in the UK, Ireland, and France, highlighting the complex history of Irish participation in the war. Historian Dr. Laura Patrick noted the difficulty in tracing the backgrounds of these soldiers, who often joined for economic reasons or a sense of adventure. The public discourse around this history has shifted, particularly after Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Ireland in 2011, which acknowledged the contributions of both unionist and nationalist soldiers. The D-Day landings, a pivotal moment in World War Two, continue to be a unifying story of courage and sacrifice transcending political boundaries.

The Globe and Mail

On the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we honor not just the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers but also the immense industrial effort that underpinned their success. Canada’s wartime economy transformed dramatically, with businesses retooling and new factories springing up overnight. Before the war, Canada’s aircraft industry was a modest operation, producing about 40 planes annually. However, by the war’s end, it had expanded to a staggering 15 million square feet of plant area, employing 116,000 people and producing over 4,000 planes each year. Canada built 16,418 aircraft, exporting thousands to the U.S., Britain, and other allies. The British Commonwealth Air Training Program in Canada turned the country into the “aerodrome of democracy,” graduating 132,000 aircrew by war’s end. Canadian factories also produced 815,729 transport vehicles, mainly trucks, outpacing even Nazi Germany. The shipbuilding industry, virtually non-existent in 1939, delivered over 1,000 naval vessels and 3,300 special-purpose craft. Canadian aid to allies, including the Soviet Union, was substantial, with supplies ranging from tanks to aluminum. The John Inglis factory in Toronto, now a condo neighborhood, was retooled to produce the Bren light machine gun, exporting thousands to China. Canada’s wartime production, valued at over $9.5 billion, was a monumental effort, equivalent to spending more than $3 trillion today.

NY Times

Narendra Modi has secured a third consecutive term as India’s prime minister, albeit by a narrower margin than anticipated. Despite his decade-long leadership, Modi’s vision for India’s future remains somewhat enigmatic. India has strengthened ties with the U.S. and its allies, acquiring high-end American weapons systems, yet Modi maintains a cautious distance from full alignment with the U.S., partly due to lingering wariness among his inner circle. Relations with China remain strained following a deadly skirmish in 2020. Meanwhile, India continues to engage with Russia, processing Russian oil and buying weapons despite the Ukraine conflict. Economically, India is now the world’s most populous country and its fastest-growing large economy, yet poverty remains widespread, with 800 million people needing food assistance. Modi’s economic policies are a mix of global engagement and protectionism, reflecting a complex approach to lifting the nation out of poverty while navigating international alliances and conflicts.


Edmonton author Don Levers will present his father’s Second World War military uniform to the D-Day Museum in Arromanches, France, as part of the 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day. The khaki wool battle dress jacket belonged to Cpl. Gerry Levers of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, one of the 14,000 Canadians who fought at Juno Beach. The journey to find and verify the uniform was an adventure in itself. Levers first learned about the jacket while researching his book “Our Father’s Footsteps,” which chronicles the stories of four soldiers who landed on Normandy Beach. Historian Frederick Jeanne informed Levers about a collector in the Netherlands who had a uniform matching his father’s. The jacket featured the correct regiment badge and wound stripe, and a gold cigarette case with the initials G.W.L. and a date that initially meant nothing. However, a newspaper clipping from the Winnipeg Public Library confirmed that Gerry Levers had been a groomsman at a wedding on that date. Although the collector had traded the jacket, Levers was able to secure it for the museum presentation. He had planned to return to Normandy with his daughter and granddaughter, and finding his father’s uniform was a poignant bonus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed Moscow’s discontent with Ukraine’s increased use of Western weapons, approved by some NATO allies, to defend its borders and even strike inside Russia. Despite his threats to arm other nations in retaliation, analysts like Stephen Sestanovich, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, doubt Russia will follow through. The West’s support for Ukraine has grown, especially after a Russian offensive on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs and other allies argue that allowing Ukraine to use these weapons is a necessary response to Russian aggression. Putin hinted at the possibility of supplying long-range weapons to other regions, a shift from Russia’s usual nuclear threats. This rhetoric marks a significant change, indicating the war’s escalation. U.S. President Joe Biden emphasized that the weapons provided to Ukraine are for defensive purposes, not to strike deep into Russia. The conflict has resulted in heavy casualties on both sides, with Ukraine inflicting significant losses on Russian forces.

South China Morning Post

Boeing’s Starliner capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS), marking a significant milestone in Boeing’s competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Despite earlier issues with guidance-control jet thrusters, the capsule, piloted by veteran astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams, safely reached the ISS after a 27-hour flight. The Starliner, launched from Cape Canaveral, autonomously docked with the ISS, where Wilmore and Williams were warmly welcomed by the station’s crew. They will spend eight days aboard the ISS before returning to Earth. The mission faced challenges, including helium leaks in the propulsion system, but the spacecraft had enough functioning thrusters to complete its journey. This mission is a crucial step for Boeing, which has faced delays and technical issues in developing the Starliner under a $4.2 billion contract with NASA. The success of this mission is essential for NASA to certify the Starliner for routine astronaut missions, providing redundancy alongside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.


In Myanmar’s Chin state, the Chin National Army (CNA) and local armed civilian groups have made unprecedented advances against the military junta, capturing areas like the Rihkhawdar camp. This victory came at a high cost, with families like that of 17-year-old Lalnunpuii, who joined the armed resistance and was brutally killed by the military. The conflict has seen ordinary citizens, including farmers and students, taking up arms against the military dictatorship that seized power in a 2021 coup. The CNA, along with other ethnic armed groups, has pushed the military out of significant territories. The resistance is supported by a parallel government and the National Unity Government (NUG), representing the elected civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Despite challenges, including internal infighting among rebel groups, there is a strong belief among the resistance that they can ultimately defeat the military. This ongoing struggle is marked by the resilience and determination of Myanmar’s people to fight for their freedom and future.

The Sydney Morning Herald: On the windswept shores of Omaha Beach in Normandy, forty years ago, US President Ronald Reagan delivered a poignant speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of D-Day. His words, reflecting on the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny, resonate deeply today as the world faces new conflicts. As the number of living World War II veterans dwindles, this year’s D-Day anniversary may be one of the last with significant veteran presence. The event saw global leaders, including US President Joe Biden, King Charles, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and French President Emmanuel Macron, paying homage to the bravery of the Allied forces. Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s presence linked the historical struggle against tyranny to the current conflict in Ukraine, drawing parallels with Reagan’s warnings against isolationism and the need for alliances. The commemorations were a stark reminder of the sacrifices made, with Biden emphasizing the importance of standing against autocratic aggression. King Charles, speaking in French, honored the immense sacrifices of both military personnel and French civilians. Despite a survey revealing that many young Britons are unaware of D-Day’s significance, the memory of the day remains strong in Normandy, where flags and tributes abound. Macron used the occasion to rally NATO support for Ukraine and to highlight the human cost of war. The emotional ceremonies included the induction of 11 US veterans into the Legion of Honour, with veterans like Anna Mae Krier, 98, urging the world to “never forget” the sacrifices made for freedom and peace.

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