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NightWatch 20150319

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For the night of 19 March 2015

North Korea: Russian media claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will make his first foreign visit to Moscow in May for the Victory Day celebrations. For security reasons, North Korea has not confirmed and will not confirm any activities of Kim Jong UN, including dates of his appearances anywhere.

Comment: The publicity associated with North Korean representation at the Victory Day celebrations in May indicates that a high-level emissary will be present. It could be Kim himself, but that is not confirmed. Kim would be among nearly 60 high-level dignitaries. He never shares the spotlight, but he might feel he needs to show that North Korea is not isolated or shunned by the so-called international community.

Yemen: The security situation in southern Yemen deteriorated sharply on 19 March. Yemen's President Hadi fled his residence in Aden because of an air attack against it. The aircraft made two passes, caused little damage and dumped its bomb in the sea, according to press accounts.

Hadi evacuated to a "safe place" from which he broadcast that a coup had been foiled. He called on all military and security forces to reject orders from the regime in Sana'a.

Special forces units loyal to the Houthis attempted to take control of the international airport at Aden, but army units loyal to President Hadi drove them off. Later they captured the base of the special forces and forced its renegade general to flee. Thirteen soldiers died and 54 were wounded, counting casualties on both sides.

Comment: Control of air force assets has been a point of contention because the head of the air force refused to follow orders from the Houthis. They replaced him and this air attack is one of the results. However, the witness reports of this air attack suggest the pilot was incredibly inept or he deliberately failed to carry out the mission.

Nevertheless, today's action indicates the Houthis intend to eliminate Hadi and those groups loyal to him in their bid to gain control of all of Yemen. The southern opposition factions and tribes might yet find a way to work together, after this attack.

Tunisia: Update. On 19 March, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) issued a statement Thursday claiming responsibility for the shooting attack that left 23 people dead, most of them tourists, at Tunisia's national museum.

Correction: Last night's edition should have reported total Russian investment in Crimea of R34bn equates to roughly $544 million, vice $544 billion, depending on the exchange rate. Regret the typo and thanks to a vigilant and brilliant reader.

Special Administrative Announcement

(Change of Subscription Dates)

A NightWatch Special Administrative Announcement last June informed Readers that changes were on the horizon for NightWatch. To better serve you, we conducted a survey of Readers' preferences. We received an overwhelming and positive response. Long-time Readers will note that NightWatch has incorporated the preferences and changes Readers said they wanted most. Included in these changes is the conversion of NightWatch to a paid subscription, which will begin on 30 March 2015.

To our valued Readers, we are extending the enrollment date for current subscribers to 13 April 2015 during which time you will continue to receive NightWatch free of charge. In addition to a complimentary two week sign-up period, you will also receive a 40% discount on the introductory monthly cost of $3.49 (plus applicable tax) if you sign up for an introductory annual subscription at a cost of $24.99 (plus applicable tax).

As the period for subscription nears, we shall publish directions about how to sign up and make payment, starting 30 March. NightWatch has been a free service for eight years. We hope through subscriptions we can continue to provide this service for years to come.

End of NightWatch for .

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