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China, Japan and Russia zero in on Latin America

China, Japan and Russia zero in on Latin America

The leaders of China, Russia and Japan all descended on Latin America in recent weeks, jostling with the United States to increase their influence, invest and tap into resource-rich markets. The latest arrival was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who on Monday was in Trinidad and Tobago, the second stop on a five-country tour that began on Friday in Mexico. China is in the market for Chilean copper and timber, Peruvian gold and zinc, Argentine beef and wheat, Brazilian sugar and soybeans and Venezuelan oil, among other commodities.

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America is buying disputed Iraqi Kurdish Crude Oil

America is buying disputed Iraqi Kurdish Crude Oil

A Marshall Islands-flagged tanker ‘United Kalavrvta’ carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is hours away from arriving at a U.S. port in Texas, according to ship tracking satellites, despite Washington’s long-standing concern over independent oil sales from the autonomous region. It would be at least the second time a U.S. company has taken delivery of oil that the Baghdad government says was smuggled from the country. Analysts have said that if there is a buyer for the oil, and no one stops the sale, it would represent a major step toward independence for Kurdistan.

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EU May Target Putin Spy Chiefs as Ukraine Heads for Vote

EU May Target Putin Spy Chiefs as Ukraine Heads for Vote

The European Union is preparing to sanction Russia’s most senior spies and security officials as it seeks to step up its response to the conflict in Ukraine, where the premier quit after the ruling coalition broke apart. Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service which replaced the Soviet-era KGB, and Mikhail Fradkov, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, are on the provisional list of sanctioned Russian officials, according to a draft document obtained by Bloomberg News.

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Rise of Islamic State tests Syrian army strategy

Rise of Islamic State tests Syrian army strategy

The growing power of the ultra-hardline Islamic State means the Syrian army is now having to confront a group it has until now been reluctant to attack for political reasons. The emergence of the al Qaeda offshoot, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has so far allowed President Bashar al-Assad to present himself to the world as a bulwark against Sunni Islamist radicals. Now that Islamic State’s fighters have gained momentum in Syria, boosted by equipment seized in a rapid offensive next door in Iraq.

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21st-century energy wars

21st-century energy wars

Global conflicts are increasingly fuelled by the desire for oil and natural gas and the funds they generate. Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan, Ukraine, the East and South China Seas: wherever you look, the world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts. At first glance, these upheavals appear to be independent events, driven by their own unique and idiosyncratic circumstances. But look more closely, and they share several key characteristics, notably, a witch’s brew of ethnic, religious, and national antagonisms that has been stirred to the boiling point by a fixation on energy.

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Boeing Reaches Aircraft Parts Deal With Iran

IRAN US AIRCRAFT

Boeing has disclosed an agreement with Iran to provide aircraft parts, relaxing a three-decade freeze in ties as part of a broader package of sanctions relief. US industry analysts say the sale of spare aircraft parts is seen as a diplomatic carrot for Iran, which for decades has relied on parts obtained on the black market or copied locally. Iran agreed in November to curtail nuclear activities for six months from January 20 in exchange for sanctions relief from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

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Norway’s Wealth Fund Mulls Scaling Back $8 Billion Russia Assets

Norway's Wealth Fund Mulls Scaling Back $8 Billion Russia Assets

Norway’s colossal sovereign wealth fund is considering reducing its $7.6 billion portfolio of Russian investments as Russia stares down the barrel of tougher EU sanctions. EU ambassadors met to discuss sanctions drawn up by the European Commission, chief among which were proposals to ban European investors from buying new debt or shares in banks majority-owned by the state. Not being an EU member, Norway has no obligation to comply with EU sanctions, but the country’s sovereign wealth fund is nonetheless reviewing its Russian investments.

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U.S., NATO, Boosting Military Cooperation And Transport With Azerbaijan, Georgia

U.S., NATO, Boosting Military Cooperation With Georgia

The United States and its European allies have made a number of recent moves to bolster military cooperation with Georgia as tension continues to fester between Russia and the West. But Georgia’s ability to accommodate more U.S. military traffic has been hampered by delays to a new rail line that it, Azerbaijan and Turkey are building, known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Officials from Azerbaijan and Turkey have blamed Georgia for the delays, which have pushed back the projected date of inaugurating the railroad to the end of 2015.

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China treads a wary path between the two Koreas

China treads a wary path between the two Koreas

“South Korea is sandwiched between China and the US. It has been playing a double dipping game of seeking security interests with the US, while pursuing economic interests with China… Seoul must pursue a policy of separating politics from economy. But it won’t be easy, as evidenced by the US opposition to South Korea’s efforts to cooperate with China on the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The only way to get away from the dilemma is to improve inter-Korean relations, which would reduce Seoul’s military dependence on the alliance with the US.”

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CFR: Kurdish Statehood Coming “sooner rather than later”

Kurdish Statehood Coming “sooner rather than later”

Recent shifts in the political landscape of the Middle East mean that Iraq’s Kurds will gain independence “sooner rather than later”, according to Steven Cook, an analyst for the US think tank the Council on Foreign Relations. “They are not committed to a unified Iraq, which they call a fiction. They are going through the political process in Baghdad to prove to everybody that they are not to be blamed for the breakup of Iraq. When this political process comes to an end – without anybody’s satisfaction – the Kurds will ultimately make moves to go their own way.”

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New state defence law makes prime minister the highest military head in Estonia

New state defence law makes prime minister the highest military head in Estonia

The new Estonian state defence law that was sent for a round approvals to different state institutions will make the prime minister the highest military head in Estonia, reports LETA reffering to Postimees. The aim of the bill is to make Estonian state defence modern and guarantee leadership of the state with clear command lines. The current state defence basics are considered very outdated and compared to the pre-WWII era. According to the current Estonian laws, the president is the highest head of Estonian state defence.

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Spain loses €12 billion in sale of ‘failed’ bank

BBVA RACHÈTE LA BANQUE NATIONALISÉE CATALUNYA

Catalunya Bank, a victim of Spain’s economic crisis, has been sold to BBVA, the country’s second-largest bank. But Spain’s sale of Catalunya Bank — in which it owns a 66 percent share — for just €1.2 billion means the country lost €11.8 billion by propping up by the bank which teetered when thousands of borrowers defaulted on their loans. That is close to the €13.8 billion in cuts to education and healthcare imposed by the Spanish government in its austerity drive, Spain’s El País newspaper noted. Spain will now turn its attention to selling off another failed bank in Bankia.

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Collateral damage: US spy scandals endanger the world’s largest trade deal

Collateral damage: US spy scandals endanger the world's largest trade deal

In this politically charged climate, German and EU leaders may find a new political lightning rod for rising frustration toward the U.S. in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an ambitious trade deal between the United States and the European Union slated to add $280 billion and 13 million jobs to the transatlantic economy. Germany is the EU’s economic center of gravity, making it the United States’ most important bilateral partner in the TTIP negotiations. German and EU politicians will have to sell TTIP to their people for it to pass.

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UAE offered to fund Israel’s Gaza offensive provided Hamas was eliminated

UAE ‘offered to fund Israel’s Gaza offensive’

The UAE knew in advance of Israel’s plans for an offensive in Gaza and even offered to fund the operation provided the militant Palestinian outfit Hamas was eliminated in the process, Israel’s Channel 2 claimed in a recent report, according to local Arabic daily Al Sharq. The daily says in a report published today that Israel’s leading national TV station (Channel 2 in Hebrew) disclosed details of secret parleys between the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, in Paris at the end of last month.

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South Stream puts Serbia in conflict with EU

An employee stands near pipes made for the South Stream pipeline at the OMK metal works in Vyksa

With the decision by Bulgaria to suspend construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, there is more pressure on Serbia, which is balancing its longstanding ties with Russia against its desire to join the European Union. “The Serbian situation is the most difficult because it ‘paid ‘ the entrance to the pipeline by giving to Gazprom low prices for NIS (Naftna Industrija Serbia – Oil Company of Serbia) and Banatski Dvor (and underground gas storage in Vojvodina),” Jelena Milic, director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies for Belgrade, told SETimes.

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Analysis: New French force rides the winds of change in the Sahel

Analysis: New French force rides the winds of change in the Sahel

By any measure, this is a serious undertaking. It will involve 3,000 troops, headquartered in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, but spread out across Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. They will be supported by helicopters, fighter jets and, ominously, drones. France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described it as a “counter-terrorism” offensive, designed to ensure that there is no upsurge in terrorist activities from jihadist groups operating in the area. “The aim is to prevent what I call the highway of all forms of traffics to become a place of permanent passage.

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Why China wants to build a railway across South America

Why China wants to build a railway across South America

Why the push to build railways criss-crossing South America? Part of the answer—besides the fact that China knows a thing or two about constructing long railways at high altitudes—lies in the region’s burgeoning trade with China, which needs raw materials to fuel its economy and new markets for its exports. Currently, the bulk of Chinese imports from South America have to travel through the Panama Canal, where the cost of transporting a ship through it has tripled over the last five years.

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France signs one billion euro navy deal with Egypt

French Foreign Minister, Fabius, talks during a news conference with his Egyptian counterpart Shukri, in Cairo

France has secured its first major military contract in Egypt in about 20 years with a 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) deal to sell four naval frigates, a French diplomatic source said on Saturday. Paris and Cairo have enjoyed close economic ties in the past but turmoil in the north African state since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted has left Western governments wary of signing contracts, especially in the defence sector. The DCNS company, in which the French state has a majority stake, won the contract to provide four corvette frigates to the Egyptian navy.

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Tanzanian port recieves Chinese backing

Tanzanian port recieves Chinese backing

China’s EXIM has announced its support to the development of the US$11bn Bagamoyo Port in Tanzania. According to reports, Phase 1 of the deep-water port could begin in 2017. Located 75km south of Dar es Salaam, the port is expected to be bigger than Kenya’s Mombasa Port and the biggest in Africa. Bagamoyo Port will have a capacity of 20mn containers per year, as opposed to Dar es Salaam’s 500,000 and Mombasa’s 600,000. China has agreed to support the construction of road and rail networks to connect the rest of Tanzania to port area, added reports.

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Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to obtain non-NATO ally status, increase in transfer of military assets

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to obtain non-NATO ally status

The U.S. Congress passed in two readings a Russian aggression prevention bill that provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova (during the period in which each of such countries meets specified criteria) for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services. The bill was submitted to the competent commission for being prepared for the final reading, APA reports, quoting the official website of the U.S. Congress.

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Russian intelligence units servicemen start field trainings in Armenia

Russian intelligence units servicemen start field trainings in Armenia

Over 300 military servicemen of Russian intelligence units started field trainings at the training center of “Kakhmud” Russian military base in Armenia.The trainings will especially focus on studying modern radio engineering, unmanned aerial vehicles “Navodchik-2”, “Zastava” and “Strelets” communication complexes with GLONASS navigation system during the investigative actions in the valley, mountains and while taking actions toward repelling subversive groups of the conventional rival and their silent extermination at various times of the day.

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Saudi Arabia’s New Strategic Game in South Asia

A New Game with New Delhi

In early 2012, Saudi authorities arrested Sayeed Zabiudeen Ansari, a (LeT) operative accused of playing a central role in planning and executing the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India. Ansari was deported to India, where he was publicly re-arrested and interrogated extensively. Ansari had traveled to Saudi Arabia on a Pakistani passport and his interrogation was almost certain to implicate the ISI—and by extension, provide strong evidence on the question of the Pakistani state’s support to terrorists.

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Beyond the US-German Case: Understanding the Espionage “Rules of the Game”

Beyond the US-German Case: Understanding the Espionage Rules of the Game

Every spy-flap reminds us that the Cold War-based espionage culture is not always a reasonable or effective basis for pursuing intelligence objectives. As a general rule, liaison cooperation simply makes more sense, in the light of current threat realities. For this reason, strange bedfellows—new partnerships between old adversaries—have emerged in responding to threats of joint concern. Old categories of “allies” and “enemies” in the intelligence world are no longer useful in pursuing liaison cooperation.

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The EU is gearing up against internal unrest

The EU is gearing up against internal unrest

The EGF was originally planned around the turn of the millennium by Italy and France as EU force. Several Member States, including Germany, but had objections to such a paramilitary unit. The governments in Rome and Paris stuck to the plan and eventually founded the EGF as a multilateral, independent of EU unity. According to its statutes, the capabilities of NATO, the OSCE, the UN and the EU can be borrowed. In the foreground, however, are inserts of the European Union.

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Super Censorship: Russia’s New Internet Law Prohibits Personal Data Storage Outside of Russia

Russia's New Internet Law Prohibits Personal Data Storage Outside of Russia

In essence, Smirnov said that Western intelligence agencies use the blogosphere to overthrow political regimes and the FSB was going to “cleanse” the Internet of their influence.In other words, the FSB was still at a loss as to how to cope with social networks. Critics of the law argue that its enforcement will make it impossible for Russians to buy air tickets online, reserve hotel rooms in foreign countries, or order consumer items from abroad because some foreign companies with little Russian business will choose not to relocate their servers.

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Riots in Myanmar put US on the spot

Riots in Myanmar put US on the spot

Rampages by Buddhist right-wingers against minority Muslims – and the recent interrogation and detention of journalists – have soured hopes for Myanmar’s transition and reforms. In the past two years, organised anti-Muslim violence stoked by the Buddhist right-wing 969 Movement has left many dead, mostly Muslims. It has driven nearly 140,000 Rohingyas in Rakhine state from their homes and communities into squalid refugee camps. Critics say the government is in effect complicit, in part because it shares wide cultural prejudice against Muslims.

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Canadian watchdog wants Five Eyes sharing safeguards

Watchdog wants Five Eyes sharing safeguards

Ottawa-based CSEC monitors foreign communications of intelligence interest to Canada, and exchanges a large amount of information with similar agencies in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Leaks from Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency — CSEC’s American counterpart — have raised questions about operations of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence network.

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Greece proposes joint navy warship patrols with Chinese

Greece proposes joint navy warship patrols with Chinese

Crete could serve as a regional node for the support, maintenance and repair of the Chinese Navy and the possibility exists for joint naval operations between Greece and China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy. “On Crete there is all the appropriate infrastructure for refuelling, maintenance and repairs for all your country’s navy units. There is a possibility of cooperation, for example, in joint patrols of war ships. And another example, in the area of fighting piracy, where the interests of our two peoples coincide”.

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The Ex-CIA Asset Trying to Conquer Libya

The Ex-CIA Asset Trying to Conquer Libya

The military strongman cut his teeth in the 1969 coup that brought Gaddafi to power.What came to be called The Toyota War, because Chadian troops used pick-up trucks mounted with French guided anti-tank missiles to neutralize Gaddafi’s armor, shattered Hiftar’s close relationship with the Libyan dictator. After Hiftar was captured in 1987, Gaddafi disowned him. Abandoned and angry, Hiftar struck a deal with the CIA, fled to the United States and lived in exile in Northern Virginia until 2011.

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Ethiopia’s Nile dam project signals Ethiopia’s intention to become an African power

Ethiopia's Nile dam project signals its intention to become an African power

Ethiopia hopes to become an African lion. “We have finished with the syndrome of dependence,” says Zadig Abraha, deputy-head of Gerd coordination. “We want to recover our past glory,” he adds. Some neighbouring countries are less upbeat about the project. Citing two treaties, dating from 1929 and 1959, Egypt claims a historic right over the Nile. It fears that the dam will restrict the flow of water. The treaties, signed with the UK and Sudan, allocate two-thirds of the Nile’s water resources to Egypt.

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Norway’s new Arctic spy ship unveiled, as Canada trails behind

Norway's new Arctic spy ship unveiled, as Canada trails behind

Norway is spending $250 million on a new spy boat to track Russian activities in the Arctic, while Canada’s efforts to safeguard its northern sovereignty appear to be moving in slow motion. The hull of the new ship, to be operated by the Norwegian military intelligence service and enter service in 2016, was delivered recently to a military base in Alesund, a coastal town northwest of Oslo in the Scandinavian kingdom of 5 million people. Norwegian military intelligence is currently working to install ultra-sensitive spying equipment.

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Spain’s Defense Minister wants NATO in the Sahel

Spanish Defense Minister wants NATO in the Sahel

Spain is the only European country with a part of its territory located in Africa, being a vital security interest. This geographical position of Spain gives a vital role in maintaining security in the area, “he said. “We are also not hidden we have many economic interests in Africa. ” Morenés mentioned energy dependence, over 60% of our gas imports are from Africa (51% in Algeria, 10% in Nigeria), plus the purchase of oil Gulf of Guinea. And also other interests, “maintain heavy investment in infrastructure in certain countries.”

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Expansion of ‘secret’ facility in Iraq suggests closer U.S.-Kurd ties

IRAQ-CONFLICT-KURDS

A supposedly secret but locally well-known CIA station on the outskirts of Irbil’s airport is undergoing rapid expansion as the United States considers whether to engage in a war against Islamist militants who’ve seized control of half of Iraq in the past month. Western contractors hired to expand the facility and a local intelligence official confirmed the construction project, which is visible from the main highway linking Irbil to Mosul, the city whose fall June 9 triggered the Islamic State’s sweep through northern and central Iraq.

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Germany clears path for EU to directly fund ailing banks

Germany clears path for EU to directly fund ailing banks

The EU’s bailout fund has moved closer to being able to directly pump money into troubled banks after the German government introduced a bill allowing direct bank recapitalisation. The German government has introduced a bill allowing the EU’s bailout fund to directly fund struggling banks. The draft law will now require approval in the Bundestag, but is planned to enter into force in November. “This is an important step to stabilise our financial sector … and to increase further the trust in our common European currency,”

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Russia to suggest forming energy association, fuel bank at BRICS summit

Russia to suggest forming energy association, fuel bank at BRICS summit

Russia will suggest setting up an energy association and a reserve fuel bank during the BRICS summit that takes place in Brazil July 15-16, Yury Uskakov, a Russian presidential aide, told reporters. “Russia intends to suggest several specific subjects for consideration, namely the formation of a BRICS energy association to ensure the energy security of BRICS members,” Ushakov said ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Brazil. “A reserve bank of fuel and BRICS energy policy institute would also be set up in the framework of this association,” he said.

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Blackwater Founder Advising Chinese Firms On Risk In Africa

Blackwater Founder Advising Chinese Firms On Risk In Africa

Africa is a major target for Chinese investment to secure resources, and Prince’s new company — Hong Kong headquartered Frontier Services Group (FSG) — provides risk management, logistics, and aviation services to companies that want to set up in Africa. The words, “high risk, high return” apply to doing business in Africa, Prince said, but he encourages his Chinese customers to focus on another slogan: “happy locals, happy project.”

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The World’s Next Oil Shipping Corridor: The Arctic Ocean

The World’s Next Oil Shipping Corridor: The Arctic Ocean

Shipping companies in China and Japan said they would start a regular service to carry Siberian natural gas across the Arctic Ocean to East Asia, showing how Asian demand for the fuel is reshaping global shipping routes. Wednesday’s announcement by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and China Shipping Development Co. offered new details of how liquefied natural gas will get from one of the remotest locations on earth—the $27 billion Yamal LNG facility being developed in western Siberia—to the megalopolises of China and Japan.

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Second CIA Spy in Germany – Berlin raids MoD

Second CIA Spy in Germany - Berlin raids MoD

German authorities have carried out a raid on the residence of a defense ministry official suspected of passing secrets to the US, just one week after the arrest of a German intelligence officer who worked as a double agent. Officials from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday that residential and office premises of the staff of the Federal Ministry of Defense in Berlin were searched on “initial suspicion of activity for an intelligence agency.” According to Die Welt, a soldier of the Bundeswehr is suspected of committing espionage

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How Russia outmaneuvered the US in resupplying the Iraqi military

How Putin outmaneuvered the US in resupplying the Iraqi military

Little noticed among the disturbing tableau of images coming out of Iraq in recent weeks is a changing of the guard evident at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). As the crisis has deepened, U.S. contractors, U.S. Embassy personnel and most of the U.S. service members have abandoned the threatened capital. The exodus has coincided with Russian contractors and support personnel pouring into BIAP to help launch the 25 Russian SU-25 warplanes that Moscow is rushing to Iraq in its hour of need.

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Portugal’s Largest Bank Espirito Santo Misses Bond Payment

Espirito Santo Investment Bank Lisboa

Banco Espirito Santo SA bonds plunged to record lows after a parent company delayed payments on short-term notes, reawakening concern that banks remain vulnerable as the euro region emerges from the sovereign debt crisis. Portugal government bonds also fell, sending the 10-year yield up the most in two months, leading declines among securities from Europe’s most indebted nations. A gauge of Portuguese stocks fell to a seven-month low, Portugal government bonds also fell.

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Germany weighs how to hit back in US spying row

Germany weighs how to hit back in US spying row

Germany debated retaliatory measures against the United States on Tuesday after the discovery of an alleged double agent stoked still smouldering public anger over the NSA scandal. The case of a German intelligence operative suspected of spying for Washington drew a fierce response from Berlin, where indignation against one of its closest allies has run high since reports last year that the US National Security Agency (NSA) tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

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Twenty-first-century energy wars

Twenty-first-century energy wars

We live in an energy-centric world where control over oil and gas resources (and their means of delivery) translates into geopolitical clout for some and economic vulnerability for others. Because so many countries are dependent on energy imports, nations with surpluses to export — including Iraq, Nigeria, Russia, and South Sudan — often exercise disproportionate influence on the world stage. What happens in these countries sometimes matters as much to the rest of us as to the people living in them, and so the risk of external involvement in their conflicts.

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GCC oil fields and military bases threatened by the Islamic State

GCC oil fields and military bases threatened by the Islamic State

The Gulf governments seem worried these days. None of them had imagined, a few months ago, that individuals entrusted with security, people’s lives, oil fields and weapons would eventually pose the main threat to all these valuables. ISIS leaders, the likes of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, are well aware of al-Qaeda’s past experience and they do realize that the Islamic caliphate will never be truly fulfilled without controlling the region’s most important treasures, i.e. oil and gas resources.

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Nicaragua approves route for $40 billion canal linking oceans

Chinese telecom tycoon Wang speaks during an interview with Reuters in Xinwei Telecom's headquarters in Beijing

A Nicaraguan committee approved a proposed route on Monday for a $40 billion shipping channel across the Central American country that would compete with the Panama Canal. The committee of government officials, businessmen and academics approved a 172 mile (278 km) route from the mouth of the Brito river on the Pacific side to the Punto Gorda river on the Caribbean that was proposed by executives from the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd (HKND Group).

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Truth and Algerian involvement in Libya

Truth and Algerian involvement in Libya

Analysts have also been talking about a pincer movement by Egyptian and Algerian forces on either side of Libya’s desert regions, with Chadian and French forces cutting off Libya’s southern frontiers thus entrapping “terrorist” groups within Libya’s Sahara. Algeria’s El Khabar newspaper, which is close to Algeria’s military, said on 11 June that Algeria was coming under increasing pressure from western countries to intervene in Libya to destroy the “jihadist Salafist” groups.

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China’s new territorial law could spell disaster – analyst

China’s new territorial law could spell disaster – analyst

China’s new territorial law could mean disaster if it is implemented in the encompassed territories in the nation’s nine-dash line. Defense analyst Rommel Banlaoi said that if China chooses to implement their new law in their claimed areas inside the dotted lines, which covers 80 percent of the South China Sea, the nation could use its military in enforcing the law. “It’s problematic since there are so many claimants in the disputed areas that the nine-dash line has surrounded,” Banlaoi said Monday at Camp Aguinaldo.

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Ashraf Ghani: From the World Bank to Afghanistan’s next president?

Ashraf Ghani: From the World Bank to Afghanistan’s next president

Ashraf Ghani was considered something of an outside chance at the start of Afghanistan’s marathon presidential election after failing to make an impression at the polls five years earlier. But an energetic campaign that saw him capitalise on the growth of social media allowed him to overcome his perceived weaknesses: A policy wonk without a big support base, a fiery temper and a life largely spent outside the country. He worked for the World Bank in the 1990s only returning to Kabul in 2001 as a senior United Nations official after the fall of the Taliban.

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NATO is back in play, but its operations are antiquated

nato

It is no longer enough to just refer to the Atlantic Alliance’s Article 5: Russia’s new types of warfare combines economic and political pressures with cyber attacks, corruption, propaganda and provocative events organized by secret agents and special forces. NATO is not structured to handle such. Command structure to make military decisions. Everything else is politics and governed by consensus. At a NATO conference in Brussels last month about information warfare, I urged the organization to become better at using social media.

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Yemen army continues fight in north and is attacked in south after ceasefire collapses

Armed conflicts in Yemen

Clashes in the north Yemen town of Omran continued on Sunday between the army and fighters from the Houthi movement after at least 104 people were killed on Saturday, while in the south six soldiers were shot dead by al Qaeda militants. Yemen’s government is struggling to regain stability in a country facing a deadly uprising in the north, a separatist movement in the south and a growing al Qaeda insurgency that has survived repeated assaults by the military.

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Total CEO calls for bigger euro role in oil payments

Total CEO calls for bigger euro role in oil payments

Oil major Total’s chief executive said on Saturday the euro should have a bigger role in international trade although it was not possible to do without the U.S. dollar. Christophe de Margerie was responding to questions about calls by French policymakers to find ways at EU level to bolster the use of the euro in international business following a record U.S. fine for BNP.”Doing without the (U.S.) dollar, that wouldn’t be realistic, but it would be good if the euro was used more,” he told reporters.

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Visegrad Countries May Turn EU Battlegroup into Permanent V4 Rapid Reaction Force

Visegrad Countries May Turn EU Battlegroup into Permanent V4 Rapid Reaction Force

We, the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, recognize that current security trends in Europe call for even closer regional defence cooperation and multinational programs deeply rooted in NATO and EU policies. The Visegrád Cooperation continues to serve as a platform for coordination of our countries in all European and transatlantic security policy fora. Cooperation among the V4 national defence industries will be further explored in the field of research and development as well as production.

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Central Bank Official: Digital currencies could ‘challenge sovereignty’ and government finances

Digital currencies could 'challenge sovereignty'

A senior Central Bank official has warned that virtual and digital currencies have the potential to challenge the sovereignty of states. Mr Murphy said rivals to national legal tender pose challenges to central banks’ ability to influence the price of credit for the whole economy. He also warned that there would be a substantial threat to the country’s finances if more and more transactions for goods and services disappear from the tax net through the use of digital currencies.

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Saudi Arabia deploys 30,000 soldiers to border with Iraq – report

Saudi Arabia deploys 30,000 soldiers to border with Iraq

Saudi Arabia has deployed 30,000 soldiers to its border with Iraq after Iraqi soldiers withdrew from the area, the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television reported. The world’s top oil exporter shares an 800km border with Iraq, where Islamic State insurgents and other Sunni Muslim militant groups seized towns and cities in a lightning advance last month. King Abdullah has ordered all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against potential “terrorist threats”, state news agency SPA reported.

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China general’s ousting tightens Xi’s grip on military

China general's ousting tightens Xi's grip on military

The Chinese Communist Party’s dramatic expulsion of a former top general — the most senior figure to fall in President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign — is an assertion of political control over the powerful and wealthy military, analysts say. Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and until two years ago a member of the ruling party’s elite 25-strong Politburo, was stripped of his party membership on Monday and his case was handed over to prosecutors.

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CARIC: Africa to deploy joint intervention force

Africa to deploy joint intervention force

Mauritanian President Ould Abdel Aziz said: “The gravity of the new threats posed by terrorism, organised crime and all forms of illegal trafficking require the union to adopt a global strategy.” “In the face of the horror of terrorist acts and particularly the massacres of civilians and other barbarous kidnappings, Africa is duty-bound not only to speak with one voice but also to act with a single iron fist to curb violence and terror,” he said about the proposed African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (CARIC).

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The Acute Danger of Iraqi Dams

The Acute Danger of Iraqi Dams

It’s been apparent at least since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that the Mosul Dam, Iraq’s largest, could spell devastation for Iraq due to a combination of faulty construction, governmental indifference, and an ongoing civil insurrection. Were it to collapse, it would lead to the largest human-induced loss of life in history. First, when ISIS seized Fallujah in January 2014, it also took control of the Fallujah Dam, which is on the Euphrates River, and proceeded to manipulate it for its purposes.

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German, French defense companies to merge

German, French defense companies to merge

The merger deal is between Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter Systems of France, providers of land defense systems. “The alliance of KMW and Nexter creates a group with the momentum and innovative force required to succeed and prosper in international competition,” the companies said in a joint statement. “In addition, it offers to its European and NATO customers the opportunity of increased standardization and interoperability for their defense equipment, with a dependable industrial base.”

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Catalans call for separate army from Spain

Catalans call for separate army from Spain

A powerful lobby group pushing for independence for Catalonia from the rest of Spain has revealed plans for how the defence forces of the hypothetical country might look. The new military force would include light infantry units, amphibious assault ships and surveillance aircraft, Spanish national daily El Mundo reported on Wednesday. There are also plans for voluntary military service and a reserve force to be called up in the event of foreign invasion or terrorism threats.

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Idea of splitting Iraq into 3 autonomous enclaves gains traction

Idea of splitting Iraq into 3 autonomous enclaves gains traction

Under the Biden-Gelb proposal, Iraq would retain its borders. Its central government would be responsible only for policing borders, dividing oil revenue and coordinating foreign policy. As with Bosnia-Herzegovina, the multiethnic nation created in 1995 after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the regions would run their own internal affairs and even maintain their own armies, as the Kurdish region already does. A partition could draw regional powers Iran and Turkey more deeply into the conflict.

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India okay with BCIM, wants details on China maritime silk road

India okay with BCIM, wants details on China maritime silk road

India today backed China’s initiative to build a regional economic corridor also linking Bangladesh and Myanmar, but sought more details from Beijing about its plans for a Maritime Silk Road (MSR) before deciding to take part in the endeavour. “BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) is a good and positive initiative we will be supportive of it,” Vice President Hamid Ansari, who concluded his five-day visit to Chinatoday.

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Historic shift as Japan expands scope of military capability

Historic shift as Japan expands scope of military

Japan on Tuesday loosened the bonds on its powerful military, proclaiming the right to go into battle in defence of allies, in a highly controversial shift in the nation’s pacifist stance. Under the new definition, Japanese troops will be able to come to the aid of allies — primarily the US — if they come under attack from a common enemy, even if Japan is not the object of the attack. Examples pushed by the Abe camp have included a missile attack by North Korea on US forces in Guam.

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New Chinese law steps up military zone security to keep out ‘foreign spies and wandering fishermen’

New Chinese law steps up military zone security to keep out 'foreign spies and wandering fishermen'

A new law strengthening the protection of China’s military facilities and its territorial waters will take effect next month, following reports of inadvertent intrusions into restricted zones and concerns about spying. The General Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had released a report during a legislative meeting on Friday, saying many of the country’s military zones had been exposed to foreign intelligence.

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Foreign policy: Germany’s all inclusive package for Africa

Foreign policy: Germany's all inclusive package for Africa

Despite minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, calling for more military responsibility, the country has only sent a few Bundeswehr troops to support recent crisis in Mali, Central Africa and Somalia, within the EU and UN frameworks. “France, the UE and the US put Germany under pressure to do more. We do it at a very low level. Germany does not have the military capacity for a greater engagement” says the researcher and African expert Robert Kappel.

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Argentina & Puerto Rico may default on their debt next week

Argentina & Puerto Rico may default on their debt next week

Investors are intently watching two separate stories in the bond market Monday that could have rippling effects, challenging the traditional notions of how bonds are paid. Argentina is expected to enter technical default as the pariah of the debt markets negotiates with creditors in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling. Separately, a Puerto Rican agency is on watch for a potential default Tuesday after the U.S. commonwealth passed a law allowing its public corporations to restructure their municipal bond debt last week

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China to Set Yuan Clearing Banks in Luxembourg, Paris

China to Set Yuan Clearing Banks in Luxembourg, Paris

In its continued push to make the yuan a global currency, China’s central bank said Sunday it plans to designate clearing banks for its currency in Paris and Luxembourg, as the two financial centers battle with London to become the leading European offshore yuan-trading city. The People’s Bank of China announced the move in two separate statements Sunday. It didn’t say when it would designate the clearing banks. The French and Luxembourg central banks said Sunday they had signed agreements with PBOC.

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Venezuelan army said to have trespassed Guyanese border, attacked miners

Venezuelan army said to have trespassed Guyanese border, attacked miners

Members of the Venezuelan army allegedly crossed over to Guyana and assaulted a group of illegal local miners operating by the Yarakita River, near the border between the countries. According to Stabroek News the civilians attacked, which are part of an illicit gold mining and smuggling network, failed to pay the soldiers a periodical fee in exchange for them turning a blind eye to illegal mining on Venezuelan territory.

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Netanyahu calls for independent Kurdistan

Israeli leader calls for independent Kurdistan

Seizing on the mayhem in Iraq, Israel’s prime minister on Sunday called for the establishment of an independent Kurdistan as part of a broader alliance with moderate forces across the region, and asserted that Israel would have to maintain a long-term military presence in the West Bank to keep a jihadi juggernaut from powering its way to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Netanyahu suggested that the territorial gains made this month by ISIS could endanger neighboring Jordan

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Report: Israel tells U.S. it would act to save Jordan from Islamists

Report: Israel tells U.S. it would act to save Jordan from Islamists

Israeli diplomats have told their American counterparts that Israel would be prepared to take military action to save the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan if it came under attack by jihadist militants, the Daily Beast reported on Saturday. The threat posed to Jordan by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which has already taken over wide swathes of Iraq and Syria, is of deep concern to the Obama administration and was the subject of a confidential briefing by administration officials to senators last week, according to the online news site.

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Turkey Ready To Accept Kurdish State in Northern Iraq

Turkey Ready To Accept Kurdish State in Northern Iraq

Turkey’s ruling party has indicated that it is ready to accept an independent Kurdish state in what is currently northern Iraq following the charge of Islamist militants through the country’s northern regions. “In the past an independent Kurdish state was a reason for war [for Turkey] but no one has the right to say this now,” Huseyin Celik, a spokesman for the ruling AK party, told the Financial Times. “In Turkey, even the word ‘Kurdistan’ makes people nervous, but their name is Kurdistan,” he added.

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Japan set for landmark easing of constitutional limits on military

Collective defense deal near

Japan is poised for a historic shift in its defense policy by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since World War Two, a major step away from post-war pacifism and a big political victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The change will significantly widen Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising “collective self-defense”, or aiding a friendly country under attack. It will also relax limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war.

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Bulgaria banks under attack, hit with second bank run

Bulgaria banks under attack: Central bank

Bulgaria’s central bank said yesterday there was a systematic attempt to destabilise the country through attacks on the banking system and vowed to protect citizens’ savings. Depositors queued in the capital Sofia to withdraw funds from one of the country’s biggest banks and its shares slumped, worsening a crisis that has shone a light on weak economic governance in the poorest European Union state. The central bank took control of Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) after a run on deposits.

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Report: Mexican Military Chopper Crosses Into US, Shoots At Border Agents

US Border Patrol agents Colleen Agle (R)

Border Patrol agents in Arizona were reportedly fired upon by a Mexican military helicopter that traveled across the border. KVOA-TV reports that Mexican authorities were conducting a drug interdiction operation when the incident happened early Thursday morning on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation. The Mexican chopper fired at the agents and then flew back into Mexico. Art del Cueto, Border Patrol Tucson Sector union president, tells KVOA that they called and apologized for the incident.

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Iran reportedly sent military advisers, head of Quds Force to Iraq

Iran reportedly sent military advisers, head of Quds Force to Iraq

Iran reportedly has sent military advisers into Iraq and dispatched the head of its infamous Quds Force to help Baghdad strategize in its fight against Sunni militants, as the United States takes similar steps despite concern about Tehran’s involvement. While not in lockstep, Tehran and Washington are now taking a similar approach in helping the beleaguered government in Baghdad. Fox News confirms that Iran is flying surveillance drones over Iraq, something the U.S. also is doing.

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Myanmar’s Police Intelligence Unit Queries Newspaper Editors

Myanmar’s Police Intelligence Unit Queries Newspaper Editors

Myanmar police’s intelligence unit has summoned editors of news publications to inquire about their internal operations, including financial records, according to a press group Monday. But the government insists the meetings are merely “discussions” to gather “basic information” about their operations and that there was nothing to be alarmed about. Editors of up to six private journals have been quizzed over the last few days by the police Special Branch unit

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China aims to break U.S. hold in Asia with rival to World Bank

Chinese RMB banknotes are arranged for a photograph. After a

Beijing diplomats on charm offensive to rally support for new institution free from U.S. control. China wants to set up a multilateral development bank in Asia to break the U.S.’s financial hold on the continent, theFinancial Times reported Tuesday, citing officials familiar with the matter. It said that Chinese officials have been touring Asia and the Middle East drumming up support for a new institution with $100 billion in capital, with a view to financing major development projects such as infrastructure.

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Thai junta to crack down on critical news reports

Thai junta to crack down on critical news reports

Thailand’s military authorities are setting up a network of panels to closely monitor domestic and international media and crack down on criticism of what the junta sees as its efforts to right the country, a senior officer said on Thursday. Rights groups and journalists have criticised curbs imposed on the press since the May 22 bloodless coup the military says was aimed at ending six months of street protests and political paralysis.

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Triangulation: Israel-Turkey-Kurdish Oil Deal Points to Possible Alliance

Israel-Turkey-Kurdish Oil Deal Points to Possible Alliance

In buying Kurdish oil via Turkey, Israel can kill two birds with one stone: It can support its long time silent partner, the Kurds, in overcoming this impasse, and at the same time it can help Turkey fulfill its project of becoming the main conduit for the export of Kurdish oil. Should this plan succeed, it would open up for Israel new vistas with Turkey. To be sure, it will also enhance the economic and political independence of the Kurds of Iraq.

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Kuwait on alert over ISIL territorial gains in Iraq

Kuwait on alert over ISIL territorial gains in Iraq

Battles in the north of Iraq pitting Sunni fighters against the Shiite-led government are sending tremors of fear across the country’s southern borders which, less than three decades ago, funnelled troops that invaded Kuwait’s oil-rich soil. The smaller neighbour, still reeling from the environmental, social and economic impacts of its 7-month annexation by Iraq in 1990-1991, is living a fresh concern as the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an Al-Qaeda-inspired group, fights its way in Syria and Iraq to create its own caliphate.

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China’s influence on Taiwan’s media

China’s influence on Taiwan’s media

Taiwan’s media freedoms are facing a triple threat. China has engaged in a clandestine media war against Taiwan by encouraging pro-China Taiwanese business tycoons to purchase Taiwanese media outlets, by pressuring Taiwanese media proprietors invested in China to censor their content, and by using embedded advertising and advertorials to influence media and public opinion. Hsu identifies how a small proportion of those media came to dominate the market and greatly influence public opinion.

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African Union says progressing to military force by end-2015

African Union says progressing to military force by end-2015

Africa is making progress towards a regional military force by the end of next year, a senior African Union official said on Wednesday, as local leaders urged less reliance on foreign intervention. Delays in implementing the African Standby Force (ASF) forced African states to request French intervention to tackle crises last year in Mali and Central African Republic. Delays in implementing the African Standby Force (ASF) forced African states to request French intervention to tackle crises last year in Mali and Central African Republic.

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Why Myanmar’s plan to acquire fighter jets from China, Pakistan should worry India

Why Myanmar's plan to acquire fighter jets from China, Pakistan should worry India

Weapons made in China/Pakistan making their way to India’s next door neighbour should definitely be upsetting for New Delhi. India needs to explore ways urgently to see if it can make a better and more economically viable offer to Myanmar. Myanmar is of huge strategic significance for India. The two countries share a 1,600-km-long land boundary apart from a long maritime boundary in Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

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Possession of hydrogen bombs ‘essential’ for India – Russian analysts

Possession of hydrogen bombs ‘essential’ for India - Russian analysts

Possession of a hydrogen bomb is essential to India to improve its image as a global power and become one of the centres of power in a multi-polar world, Russian experts said in reaction to a report from US intelligence think tank. IHS Jane’s said that a nuclear centrifuge plant constructed in 1992 near Mysore could be channelled towards making of hydrogen bombs. India will be capable of mastering all three ways of delivering nuclear warheads.

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EU wants stronger military industry

Harrier Pilot Prepares for Takeoff

The European Commission on Tuesday (24 June) laid out plans on how to boost the EU’s military and defence industries. It wants to create a single market on defence, make it more profitable, and intensify and merge research with the civil sector. The 14-page plan wants to expand on ‘dual-use technology’, in which equipment can be used for both civilian and military objectives. The EU’s €80 billion Horizon 2020 research programme would be used to help fund dual-technology projects.

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Time to mine the moon for resources, says European Space Agency

Time to mine the moon, says European Space Agency

There are already companies working on how 3D printing could help build infrastructure on the moon, as well as missions which are beginning to map its surface ahead of bids to drill for its resources. “We do not have decades to come up with answers to these important questions about exploring the moon,” he said. “A fleet of international missions has already started to prospect and map the distribution of mineral resources, and water-ice.”

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Ukraine unrest fits pattern of Russian invasion drills

UKRAINE-UNREST-POLITICS-EU-RUSSIA

The recent pattern of pro-Russian unrest and fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine resembles a Russian military playbook used in exercises simulating invasion drills, according to a new analysis. The analysis, by ex-NATO commander Wesley Clark and Phillip Karber. The plan was announced despite NATO evidence, disputed by Russia, that President Vladimir Putin is resuming his nation’s buildup of troops near the Ukrainian border.

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NATO to establish Trust Fund for Ukraine’s defense potential

NATO creating trust fund to support Ukraine's defense sector

“New NATO measures for supporting the Ukrainian defense sector include the creation of a trust fund,” the source told journalists. The Foreign Ministers of 28 NATO member-countries will discuss the issue during a coming meeting on June 24 and 25 in Brussels. It’s too early to specify the terms under which the fund will be created or the financial issues, the source said. NATO has no plans, for now, to offer military assistance.

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The Mahdi Army: Turbans, Kalashnikovs and plans to ‘slaughter’

The Mahdi Army: Turbans, Kalashnikovs and plans to 'slaughter'

Bedecked in black training suits or flowing robes and turbans, they resemble Iraq’s own army as they marched by the thousands through Sadr City over the weekend (22.06.2014). Sadr City’s two million largely Shiite citizens make it Baghdad’s largest district. They were ready to stand up to the terrorists, they cried. Everywhere, they could be heard: “We will slaughter them!” Armed with rifles, pistols, grenades and Molotov cocktails, their first target is Samarra.

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Myanmar armed personnel encroaches on Indian soil

Myanmar armed personnel intrude on indian soil

“The Burmese army personnel come to our village and keep loitering in the streets when it is dark, sometimes they come in vehicles. We are afraid to go out in our own village,” said L Haokip, a resident of Haolenphai village. Recently, the Myanmar army has erected a makeshift wooden fence to demarcate the line of control in the area which starts from border pillar number 74. The area mentioned is almost about 12 square kilometers. At present, this area which originally is ancestral land of the Kuki village is claimed by Myanmar as their territory.

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Run on Corpbank prompted Bulgaria to seize control

People queue outside the main office of Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank in Sofia

A run on Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) prompted Bulgaria’s central bank to take control of the country’s fourth-largest lender and its governor appealed to depositors to stay calm. The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) said it would handle Corpbank’s operations for three months and removed its management and supervisory board after the run, which was sparked by media reports of shady deals involving the bank. The BNB said it acted after Corpbank said it had stopped all bank operations due to a liquidity drain.

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Israel military carries out airstrikes in Syria

An Israeli soldier stands beside a mobile artillery unit in the Golan Heights

Israeli warplanes bombed a series of targets inside Syria early Monday, the Israeli military said, in response to a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager the previous day. In all, Israel said it struck nine military targets inside Syria, and “direct hits were confirmed.” The targets were located near the site of Sunday’s violence in the Golan Heights and included a regional military command center and unspecified “launching positions.” There was no immediate response from Syria.

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Thai junta taking control of economy

Thai junta taking control of economy

The Thai military is rapidly taking control of Southeast Asia’s second largest economy with an overhaul of state enterprises, a suspension or cancellation of some of the previous government’s infrastructure projects and efforts to build bridges with foreign investors. The move comes after decades of corruption in the country’s infrastructure, previous Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra – for one – removed from office after being found guilty of having illegally transferred a high ranking civil servant for personal gain.

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Putin orders forces in central Russia on full combat alert

Putin orders forces in central Russia on full combat alert

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday placed forces in central Russia on “full combat alert” and ordered the 65,000 troops in the region to carry out one week of military readiness drills. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the ground and airborne drills in the Volga and Ural mountain regions would run June 21 though June 28, the Interfax news agency reported. Troops stationed near Ukraine, thousands of kilometres away from central Russia, are not involved in the drills.

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China hails Greece as “gateway to Europe”

China hails Greece as “gateway to Europe”

Accompanied by his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras, Li visited the country’s largest port of Piraeus to inaugurate a rail link that will transport goods to central Europe. Chinese and Greek officials are signing 19 deals worth an estimated 4.5 billion euros. Among the key agreements is one for boosting trade and investment cooperation, as well as a deals for Chinese bank loans to go towards various construction projects, such as shipyards and solar energy parks.

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EU states let NSA tap data cables, Danish media say

EU states let NSA tap data cables, Danish media say

Classified files leaked to Danish media suggest some EU states are allowing US spies to install surveillance equipment on cables in order to intercept the emails, private phone calls, and Internet chats of their citizens. Large amounts of data are said to be swept up via a programme codenamed “RAMPART-A”, according to documents. The equipment allows the Americans to hoover up some three terabits of data every second from the cables.

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Uganda Reserves $8 Billion in Rail Plans for Chinese Bidders

Uganda Reserves $8 Billion in Rail Plans for Chinese Bidders

Uganda plans to invite six Chinese companies next month to compete for as much as $8 billion worth of contracts to expand the country’s railway network and help improve trade routes with four bordering nations. The first phase of Uganda’s planned railway construction covers 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), stretching from the country’s border with Kenya to Rwanda and a town near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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A ‘Spook War’ May Be Brewing

A 'Spook War' May Be Brewing

The GUEBiPK is thus not only a potentially powerful political asset — whoever controls economic crime investigations is especially useful to the Kremlin — but also a lucrative source of revenue. Kolsenikov’s downfall, therefore, may be part of a play by the FSB and Investigative Committee to take control of the GUEBiPK. Just as the MVD’s Main Directorate for Combating Extremism is generally regarded as a tool of the FSB, so too GUEBiPK could be dominated by the FSB’s Economic Security Service or else the Investigative Committee.

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IMF ready to ask ECB to begin quantitative easing

IMF ready to ask ECB to begin quantitative easing

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund is expected to launch an appeal to the European Central Bank on Thursday, urging it to deal with deflationary risks by beginning a form of quantitative easing, the Financial Times newspaper reported. That would include large purchases of sovereign bonds to stimulate growth, the newspaper said Wednesday, citing a draft of a statement from the IMF based on its annual evaluation of the eurozone’s economic health.

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The cost of global violence and unrest: US $1,350 per person

The cost of global violence and unrest: US $1,350 per person

Violent conflict and unrest cost the world as much as the combined economic output of Britain, Germany, France and Italy last year, or $1,350 per person globally, an index measuring the state of world peace found on Wednesday. The economic cost of containing and dealing with the consequences of global violence last year was an estimated $9.8 trillion, 11.3 percent of global economic output, up 3.8 percent from 2012, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

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The Galloping Militarization of Eurasia

The Galloping Militarization of Eurasia

The key drivers of the region’s galloping militarization are, firstly, the various protracted Caucasian conflicts – Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh, whose status is disputed between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the North Caucasus, which has experienced near continuous conflict since the mid-1990s; and secondly, the rising geopolitical competition over the Caspian Sea and its enormous hydrocarbon resources.

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Chinese army think-tank says gas resources in Arctic region would help economy

Chinese army think-tank says gas resources in Arctic region would help economy

Oil and gas resources in the Arctic are an important resource to guarantee China’s sustained economic growth and the country should actively look at developing it, state media on Wednesday cited a Chinese military think-tank as saying. The Defence Policy Research Centre of the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army singled out the Arctic as one of the chapters of an annual strategic assessment.

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