Neil Gorsuch Confirmed As New Justice On Supreme Court, Via Simple Majority ‘Nuclear Option’

The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch, considered to be a conservative, as the 113th Justice of the Supreme Court. This set a precedence of confirming a justice by breaking a filibuster against him with a simple majority vote. -GEG

Trump Sends Navy Strike Group To Korean Peninsula To Threaten Kim Jong Un

War drums continue. The Pentagon ordered a navy strike group, headed by an aircraft carrier, to head towards the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula.  The move is in response to North Korea’s recent provocations in developing ballistic-missile technology and nuclear capabilities.  President Trump said earlier in the week that the United States is prepared to handle North Korea if China doesn’t exercise its leadership in the South Pacific.  The strikes in Syria, in response to the suspected chemical attack, were intended to send a message of strength to North Korea and China. –GEG

Four powerful U.S. Navy warships are sailing toward North Korea to take up position off of the Korean Peninsula. According to a U.S. defense official and CNN, the USS Carl Vinson strike group was ordered to sail north after departing Singapore on Saturday, April 8, instead of heading to port in Australia. Kim Jong-Un has yet to issue a response to the movement.

What Is a Carrier Strike Group?

The carrier strike group that was sent is led by the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Also part of the strike group are two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, the USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112), and the USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108), and one Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, the USS Lake Champlain (CG-57)

The Carl Vinson is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 1 and is based at the Naval Base in San Diego. The massive warship is crewed by nearly 6,500 sailors, marines, and aviators. The carrier is also home to Carrier Air Wing 2(CVW-2) when it is abroad. CVW-2 is home to nine squadrons of U.S. Navy aircraft, including four strike fighter squadrons flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet, one electronics warfare squadron flying the EA-18G Growler, and four support squadrons of helicopter combat and early warning aircraft. In total, the Vinson can field over 60 aircraft at one time to pursue air-to-ground or air-to-air combat wherever they are needed.

The Arleigh Burke destroyers are also nimble and dangerous warships. They are equipped with a vertical missile launching system that can be outfitted with Tomahawk cruise missiles, the same kind that were used in the strike against Syria earlier in the week. They are also capable of firing surface-to-air missiles as well as Standard Ballistic missile defense missiles to protect themselves and the Carl Vinson. Each destroyer carries 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles, making them lethal at standard engagement ranges.

The Lake Champlain is also a powerful warship capable of launching Tomahawk missiles, but where the Ticonderoga class shines is in missile defense. The Champlain is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles outside of the earth’s atmosphere, knocking them out and rendering them harmless.

Positioning the Strike Group near South Korea gives President Trump the flexibility to both defend against a missile attack by North Korea or to preemptively launch an attack of his own.

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Stockholm: Uzbeki Man Kills 4 And Injures 15 In Truck Attack On Pedestrians

Stockholm, Sweden: A 39-year old man from Uzbekistan, Rakhmat Akilov, is the key suspect in an attack involving a stolen beer delivery truck that mowed down pedestrians, killing two Swedes, a British man, and a Belgian woman, and also left 15 more injured.  Akilov had been denied permanent residency in Sweden and had expressed sympathy for the Islamic State.  A second suspect has been arrested and seven more have been questioned by police. –GEG

Two Bomb Explosions In Egypt Kill 45 Coptic Christians On Palm Sunday

Egypt: ISIS claimed responsibility for two bomb blasts that killed at least 45 Coptic Christians at St. George’s Coptic Church in the city of Tanta and at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.  The blasts may have been timed to coincide with a visit to Egypt by Pope Francis, scheduled for the end of this month.  Two bombs were defused at a Sufi shrine in Tanta. ISIS considers Sufism, a mystical form of Islam, to be heresy. –GEG

ISIL says it was behind two bomb blasts that killed dozens of Coptic Christians in Egypt on Sunday, as they marked Palm Sunday ahead of Easter.

In Tanta and in Alexandria, church services on one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar ended in carnage.

At least 27 people died and nearly 80 were injured in the first explosion in the northern Nile Delta city of Tanta.

Officials say the blast hit the front rows of St George’s Coptic Church. It remains unclear whether a bomb was hidden in the building or whether a suicide bomber was responsible.

Media reports from Egypt say two explosive devices were defused at a mosque in Tanta with a Sufi shrine on Sunday. ISIL views followers of Sufism, a mystical form of Islam, as heretics.

Following the carnage at St. George’s in the city, the local security chief is said to have been relieved of his duties.

Hours after the Tanta explosion, came another blast in front of a Christian church in Alexandria.

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