Russia has acknowledged an Egyptian request to procure a squadron of MiG-35 advanced fighter aircraft, to include up to 24 fighter jets at a cost of US$3 billion. The fulfilment of this package could be delayed though, as this specific type of aircraft hasn’t reached a production stage. The manufacturer, Russian Aircraft Corporation (UAC) through its subsidiary Russian Aircraft Corp (RAC) has failed to gain international orders for the aircraft and is currently awaiting an initial order from the Russian Air Force to kickstart production by 2016.
Putin has suggested creating a unified system of naval bases in Russia’s Arctic. Speaking at a meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday Putin underscored the need for enhancing the reliability of protection of Russia’s Arctic borders. This should be done in various ways, including the reinforcement of the border guard forces’ naval group. Alongside, steps must be taken to enhance military infrastructure.
It sounds like a good idea – develop an online system of publically reporting and disseminating problems or incidents stemming from the use of unmanned aircraft in the public airspace. In practice you’d have to wonder if such a system would get used much because it seems like the system has just a few caveats. Specifically the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice is looking for proposals to develop, host, and maintain a web-based, online flight data and incident reporting system.
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced on Wednesday that the Navy will establish a naval zone east of the Caspian Sea. Iranian military officials have repeatedly announced that strong naval presence in the Caspian Sea (the world’s largest lake and a resource-rich body of water) is as a way to safeguard national interests and marine resource there.The maritime and seabed boundaries of the Caspian Sea have yet to be demarcated among the five countries bordering the sea.
China is planning to increase its military capabilities in space in reaction to US and other world powers developing astronomical weapons. At the time, US Air Force space analyst Brian Weeden said: “If true, this would represent a significant development in China’s anti-satellite [ASAT] capabilities. “No other country has tested a direct ascent ASAT weapon system that has the potential to reach deep space satellites in medium earth orbit, highly elliptical orbit or geostationary orbit.”
NGI builds on the FBI’s legacy fingerprint database—which already contains well over 100 million individual records—and has been designed to include multiple forms of biometric data, including palm prints and iris scans in addition to fingerprints and face recognition data. NGI combines all these forms of data in each individual’s file, linking them to personal and biographic data like name, home address, ID number, immigration status, age, race, etc.
Israel’s army chief of staff General Benny Gantz said an Israeli military operation in Lebanon is not only a realistic scenario but a necessary one. Gantz told Israel’s Channel 2 that threats against Israel from Lebanon and Gaza are not a mere campaign of intimidation but a reality pointing out that Israel is considering an increase in the level of its preparedness to emergency level to answer these threats. Commenting on the Syrian civil war Gantz said that Israel must prepare for all variables that could change at any time.
With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan. The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States.
Some 67,000 US military members are currently stationed on the European continent, mainly in Germany (40,000), Italy (11,000) and Britain (9,500). When the Soviet Union fell in late 1991, the total presence stood at 285,000. Chollet, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, did not specify what such a re-examination could entail at a time when the Pentagon faces budget cuts and is seeking to redeploy part of its resources to the Asia Pacific region as part of a so-called pivot strategy.
Russia has intensified its espionage efforts in Sweden to include war preparations, Swedish security service Säpo warned on Monday. Unge said Russia’s intensified interest in Sweden was evidenced by simulated flight attacks on Swedish targets as well as attempts to recruit spies, increased signals intelligence, and the purchase of a significant number of maps. The simulated flight attacks were a particular point of concern for Säpo.
Speaking to the expanded collegium of FSB in Moscow on Monday, Vladimir Putin outlined the designated priorities for the future work. FSB is in charge of guarding Russia’s external borders, including the land-border to neighboring Norway and Finland in the northwest as well as coastline borders to the Arctic Ocean. “As a priority, we must continue the development of border infrastructure in the Arctic region, as well as on the southern strategic direction,” Vladimir Putin told the audience of FSB officers.
Far from being a thing of the past, it would appear that Pakistani links to Gulf security forces remain strong. Reports last week indicated that Bahrain employs 10,000 Pakistanis in its security forces, including 20% of its air force. Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif denied Pakistan was providing troops, but the article said Pakistan provided security personnel to help quell the 2011 sectarian protests. Not officially, mind you, because they had been recruited through two of Pakistan’s military welfare organisations.
Djibouti may be one of the smallest countries in Africa. But it’s about to become significantly more important, as US forces stationed there increase their operations, on their own and working with local governments. We are building an environment that won’t allow violent extremists to survive in East Africa. The Navy Riverines, American sailors who are part of the United States’ growing joint task force in the Horn of Africa, monitor vessels leaving Djibouti’s harbour for the potentially dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden.
Saudi Arabia Clamps Down on Little Qatar (Or, How Not To Waste Billions Trying To Be Something You’re Not)
Papa Emir was in a delicate situation. He wanted to make his own mark on things, but could not go too far as to upset the Americans, who were key to him staying in power. In the 2000s, the Muslim Brotherhood was still relatively unknown outside the Arab world and, while not ideal to support, also not a redline that would trigger a U.S. response.
He also sought to turn Doha into a Middle Eastern Geneva.
The UK will expand its military presence in Bahrain with a $9.7m expansion of its maritime command in the capital, Manama, Gulf Daily News has reported. The expansion includes a new, larger headquarters and facilities to provide engineering and logistics support for the four Royal Navy mine countermeasure vessels based in the kingdom. The Middle East has the UK’s second largest Royal Navy presence, with 10 of its 32 warships and support vessels in the region.
A member of the defence team representing the 529 defendants handed a mass death penalty on Monday has said that his team will appeal the verdict, the largest of its kind in the history of Egypt’s criminal courts. Ahmed Shabib, a Muslim Brotherhood lawyer, said on Monday that defence lawyers would bring the appeal after receiving the reasoning behind the court’s ruling. Shabib added that he and his fellow lawyers would request a retrial for the defendants sentenced in absentia.
The U.S. military is always busy planning for war pretty much everywhere, but some places are tougher nuts to crack than others. That’s why the U.S. Special Operations Command is seeking “Geospatial Data on Countries of Interest for Which There is a Critical Need But Non-Existent Data.” Just who might those countries be? According to a USSCOM announcement posted Monday, the “initial dataset” consists of “Jordan, Djibouti, Burma, Honduras, Iran, Morocco, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Burkina Faso, S. Sudan, N. Korea, and China (Guangdong).”
Japan will announce Monday that it will turn over to Washington more than 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium and a large quantity of highly enriched uranium, a decades-old research stockpile that is large enough to build dozens of nuclear weapons, according to U.S. and Japanese officials. The announcement is the biggest single success in President Barack Obama’s five-year-long push to secure the world’s most dangerous materials, and will come as world leaders gather here Monday for a nuclear security summit.
For days the Ukrainian commander, holed up with 500 men in a small corner of the vast Belbek air base in southern Crimea, had predicted that the Russians were coming. He was right. On a ridge line above their compound we could see Russian snipers and spotters, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and infantry gathering. A one-hour deadline to leave passed and the Ukrainian soldiers prepared themselves for an assault – not from the Russians but from the pro-Russia militia who have forced their way into camps across the peninsula for the last week.
The United States may be paying “ghost workers” in Afghanistan with some of the $1.2 billion in payroll funding it provided for that nation’s security forces, according a federal auditor. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko said in a letter to three U.S. commanders in Afghanistan last month that the United States may be “unwittingly helping to pay the salaries of non-existent members of the Afghan National Police (ANP).”
The head of NATO says Russia’s incursion into Ukraine may affect the prospects for nuclear arms control in Europe, which already faced political challenges. “Of course I cannot exclude that the events we have witnessed in Crimea will also have an impact on the thinking about arms control, including nuclear policies,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Wednesday remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Four former Soviet satellites in Central Europe signed a military pact Friday to coordinate defence planning and to create a joint combat unit to operate under NATO and EU auspices, in response to the Ukraine crisis. “The current situation in Europe shows that unfortunately a military conflict, previously considered unthinkable, could happen,” Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said at a meeting of the Visegrad 4 (V4) group of countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Voting has begin in Venice and the surrounding region on whether to break away from Italy. Recent opinion polls suggest that two-thirds of the four million electorate favour splitting from Rome, but the vote will not be legally binding. The poll was organised by local activists and parties, who want a future state called Republic of Veneto. This would be reminiscent of the sovereign Venetian republic that existed for more than 1,000 years.
A recent trip to the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, has in fact opened my eyes to what a typical peacekeeper expects to gain from his tour of duty in Somalia. So this peacekeeper has every pretext to fear death and plan for a happy future back home. In fact, he was already building a new house, praying that he remains in Somalia until the building is finished. “I don’t want to defeat Al-Shabaab. I would rather scatter them to prolong my mission,” he told me.
Laser weapons like those developed by the United States pose little threat to the PLA – smog or no smog – because mainland researchers have pioneered coatings that can deflect beams and render them harmless, mainland scientists say. PLA Navy Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong drew widespread ridicule last month when the National Defence University researcher suggested that China’s thick smog provided the country’s best defence against military lasers.
For the children learning the alphabets of English in normal schools, “A” is for “Apple”, but for their counterparts of Naxal-run schools in Abujhmad areas of south Bastar, known in Maoist parlance as “Liberated Zone”, in Chhattisgarh, “A” is for “Arms” and “B” is for “Bomb”. When kids of normal parents are initiated into formal education by identifying apple, ball, cat, the tribal tiny tots in Maoist-hotbeds of remote south Bastar are introduced to violent world of insurgency through alphabets that acquaint them to military and insurgency jargons.
The Spanish government approved Friday an expansion of the size and duration of the U.S. military presence at the Moron base in southern Spain. The Pentagon is authorized to increase the U.S. Marine contingent at Moron from the current level of around 850 troops to as many as 1,100, Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes told reporters after Friday’s Cabinet meeting. The U.S. military also asked to expand the number of aircraft stationed at the Moron base, he said.
A squad of 100 newly-minted Somali commandos are ready to hit the streets following the end of a nine-month training course run by American trainers. Nicknamed Danab (lightning) due to their newly-acquired skills, the commandos are expected to significantly beef up the security effort in the capital Mogadishu which has in recent weeks grappled with a spate of terror attacks.
The US Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response (SP-MAGTF CR) began their redeployment to Moron, Spain after completing a forward deployment in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Over the following weeks, as violence spread to areas throughout South Sudan, U.S. citizens in those areas needed to be evacuated. While the East Africa Response Force was providing security for the embassy, additional forces were required to continue the evacuation mission.
As a developing country, while the area of Myanmar wide but the location need not much defense. So, the HQ-12 if equipped for the military of Myanmar will mostly assume the ground mission. If the Western powers to attack Myanmar, attacks can come from the East and the city of Yangon. Meanwhile, rocket HQ-12 deployed in any one location in the outskirts of downtown Yangon is able to cover the city’s airspace. The current capital of Naypyidaw is Myanmar in Mandalay, are surrounded by forested mountains, the eastern front was the high mountain ranges, if missiles HQ-12 on the mountain in the East can also protect the city.
The U.S. Navy is mapping out how to expand its presence in the Arctic beginning about 2020, given signs that the region’s once permanent ice cover is melting faster than expected, which is likely to trigger more traffic, fishing and resource mining. “The Arctic is all about operating forward and being ready. We don’t think we’re going to have to do war-fighting up there, but we have to be ready,” said Rear Admiral Jonathan White, the Navy’s top oceanographer and navigator, and director of the Navy’s climate change task force. “We don’t want to have a demand for the Navy to operate up there, and have to say, ‘Sorry, we can’t go,’” he said.
Under the partnership, Djibouti has offered military facilities such as a home port to the Chinese navy, Houffaneh told Sabahi. “In exchange, we have asked for our military co-operation to be expanded to enable us to build the operational capacities of the Djiboutian armed forces in order to safeguard security in the country and help to consolidate peace and security in the sub-region,” Houffaneh said. “In this deal, we laid emphasis on building the capacities of Djibouti’s navy, which lacks patrol boats, and building the capacities of the air force, which will soon acquire Chinese aircraft.”
The Greek port of Piraeus could become one of Europe’s top five container-shipping hubs as the government spurs logistics activities in a bid to kick-start economic growth, said Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis. Piraeus, now the 11th-largest container-shipping port in the European Union, is expanding as China-based Cosco Pacific Ltd. (1199) operates one of two piers, builds a third and prepares to offer cargo-train shipping to multinational companies. “Piraeus could become one of the four to five biggest ports in Europe very soon,” Hatzidakis said in a Feb. 20 interview in Brussels.
However, most of Novinsky’s career is shrouded in mystery. In the early 1990s he is believed to have worked at top St. Petersburg physics research institutes – a milieu shared by some of Putin’s closest friends, such as the Kovalchuk brothers – Mikhail and Yury – and Andrei and Sergei Fursenko. Later in the decade he worked in the Russian oil sector. It was not until around the turn of the century that Novinsky materialised as a metals trader in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk. He quickly managed to privatise key companies, the core of his current fortune.
Washington is ready to help Manila in the event that Beijing invades Pag-Asa, the second largest island in the disputed Spratly Islands, a top US military official said. Adm. Jonathan Greenert, naval operations chief of the US Navy, could not say what form of assistance may be extended to the Philippines but noted that the two countries have existing defense treaties. “Of course we would help you and now I don’t know what that help would be (given) specifically,” Greenert told students of the National Defense College of the Philippines in Quezon City.
U.S. Navy to deploy ‘Star Wars’-like laser system this summer; electromagnetic rail guns not far behind
Some of the Navy’s futuristic weapons sound like something out of “Star Wars,” with lasers designed to shoot down aerial drones and electric guns that fire projectiles at hypersonic speeds. That future is now. For the Navy, it’s not so much about the whiz-bang technology as it is about the economics of such armaments. Both costs pennies on the dollar compared with missiles and smart bombs, and the weapons can be fired continuously, unlike missiles and bombs, which eventually run out. The Navy’s laser technology has evolved to the point that a prototype can be operated by a single sailor, he said.
Syria’s regime and rebels are likely to ratchet up military pressure on the ground after the failure of peace talks, setting the scene for a grim escalation of fighting, analysts say. Barely a day after a second round of peace talks in Geneva broke down on Saturday, the rebel Free Syrian Army fired its military chief Selim Idriss, citing “the paralysis within the military command these past months”. A source inside the Syrian opposition said that Mr Idriss — who was appointed to the role in December 2012 — had faced criticism for failings on the battlefield.
Western militaries may lose access to critical materials needed for weapons and other systems, because of the growing demand for new technologies, questionable supply lines and production in unfriendly or dangerous countries, NATO documents show. “Key strategic materials are those that are crucial in the manufacture of sophisticated military hardware or components such as airframes, gas turbines, rocket motors, munitions, armor and electronics,” according to a newly released NATO request for information. “These materials are becoming increasingly scarce.”
Western military action against Islamist fighters in southern Libya has been ruled out by France, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. The announcement essentially rebuffs an appeal for intervention from neighboring Niger, but Fabius said the Western powers were drawing up plans to help the Libyan government deal with the issue. “No, an intervention, no (that’s not being discussed),” Fabius told RTL radio. “But we are going to have an international meeting in Rome at the beginning of March to give Libya more help because it’s true that there are terrorists gathering in the south.
A so-called bad bank is also a semi-technical term that describes a special division at a financial institution that happens to be packed with toxic assets, unwanted loans or entire business units hived off from a banking group’s “core” operations. Banks euphemistically dub these units “non-core,” “non-strategic” or a host of other names, steering investors away from considering them part of a bank’s future (and generating increasingly impenetrable earning reports in the process).
The Rota naval base, in southern Spain, early this next week will welcome the first of the four NATO anti-missile destroyers to be stationed there over the next two years, said U.S. Navy Capt. Greg Pekari. “This is an historic and emotional moment for the naval base, for the United States, for Spain and also for NATO,” Pekari, the top U.S. military officer on the base, said in an interview with Efe. The deployment of the anti-missile vessels will double the number of U.S. personnel on the base.
Ever since an acrimonious split with larger neighbor Malaysia in 1965, Singapore has placed a strong emphasis on the military. The greatest fears for a small country like Singapore lie in two things – coercion by bigger powers and strategic uncertainty that arises from any conflict between great powers,” said William Choong, Shangri-La Dialogue senior fellow for Asia-Pacific Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “Singapore’s defense spending should be seen in such a context.” Last year the government allocated about $12 billion of its budget to national defense.
The newest American tanks arrived at the American military base in Bavaria on January 31. So what? According to the statements made by American military officials, 29 heavy new generation Abrams tanks would be a part of the European Activity Set (EAS). They are supposedly just to serve as equipment for the training center. The appearance of the tanks is explained by the fact that at a time when the American command has decided to continue training American tank personnel in Europe, they had nothing to train them on.
The U.S. (obviously) tops the chart with a recorded 682 billion dollars of annual military spending, or about 20% of our total federal spending. That is a sizable sum. It’s more than the entire GDP of Norway last year. To give you even more perspective, the U.S.’ share of global military spending is more than the rest of the top 10 combined. If we were to divide the defense budget by the median American salary, it would be worth the salaries of 14 million people. It has come under scrutiny with current debt crisis, and with the Iraq and Afghanistan war costing an estimated $4 trillion over the last decade.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he proposed to Secretary of State John Kerry a U.S.-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian state indefinitely. The proposed independent Palestine alongside Israel would have no army of its own, only a police force, Assad told the New York Times. So the NATO forces would be in charge of ending weapons smuggling and quashing terrorism, major Israeli concerns, he said. The NATO troops could stay in the West Bank “for a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders, but also on the western borders, everywhere,” Abbas said.
After running one of the world’s biggest and most controversial private military groups, Blackwater founder Erik Prince is starting a new venture providing logistics for oil and mining companies in remote and dangerous parts of Africa. China is increasingly looking to Africa to meet its ever growing demand for natural resources. Trade between the two reached an estimated $200 billion (121 billion pounds) this year. With 85 percent of Chinese imports from the continent being oil or minerals, Prince sees an opportunity.
The results of exams for chief police officer show participants who scored three points out of 100 in the exam scored 79 points for the higher ranking deputy inspector exam. In other words, the latter is a more difficult exam. A policeman, who chooses to remain anonymous, said high-ranking Gülenists within the law enforcement distributed exam questions and answers to Gülen–affiliated candidates a week ahead of the exams. The aspiring inspectors memorized the answers to secure high scores in the exams. Furthermore, dates for the deputy inspector exam were deliberately postponed to allow Gülenist participants more time to prepare for the exams.
Weeks of violence between two rival communities have swept Algeria’s desert city of Ghardaia, enflamed by the destruction of a historic Berber shrine, with analysts warning of sectarian conflict engulfing the fragile region. For more than a month, the city of 90,000 inhabitants has witnessed clashes between the Chaamba community of Arab origin and the majority Mozabites, indigenous Berbers belonging to the Ibadi Muslim sect. Three people were killed in the violence, which both sides accused the other of starting.
When an uprising toppled Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak, men like Ahmed Saif who helped run his vast patronage network melted away. Three years later, Saif and other former members of Mubarak’s party are back in action in the populous countryside, offering everything from refrigerators for newlyweds to welfare-like stipends to the poor in exchange for votes. This time, the slick political machine is drumming up support for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled Egypt’s first freely-elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Mursi, and is expected to become president.
For the past six months, there have been intermittent reports in the news media and on specialist websites stating that Burma (Myanmar) is developing a submarine capability. If this is true, it has important implications not only for Burma and the region, but also for the wider international community. However, equally dramatic stories about Burma have emerged in the past, only to prove misleading or false. This is not the first time Burma has been linked to a submarine sale. In 2003, it was claimed that the military government had held discussions with North Korea on the purchase of one or two small submarines.
President Hamid Karzai has frequently lashed out at the U.S. military for causing civilian casualties in its raids. But behind the scenes, he has been building a far broader case against the Americans, suggesting that they may have aided or conducted shadowy insurgent-style attacks to undermine his government, according to senior Afghan officials. Karzai has formalized his suspicions with a list of dozens of attacks that he believes the U.S. government may have been involved in, according to one palace official.
In the region, France will have four main bases: N’Djamena (Chad), Niamey (Niger), Gao (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). A N’Djamena: combat aircraft Rafale and Mirage 2000, supported by tankers and ground forces – and the staff who will control operations in the Sahel. In Niamey, intelligence assets, including two new Reaper drones purchased in the United States and will be operational in the coming days. These monitoring devices controlled from the ground in Niamey are collocated with those of the U.S. Air Force.
INDONESIA has beefed up its military presence in waters off its southern border as military officials claim its air force is ready and that Australia is “reachabale” if there are any more border violations. Indonesian military officials have today told the Jakarta Post its Navy warships, including frigates, fast torpedo craft and corvettes as well as maritime patrol aircraft, have been deployed to waters off its southern border. Four Air Force defence radars have also been programmed to closely monitor the area.
“The disclosure of the Dongfeng-31 at this time obviously aims to respond to the United States’ two big military moves in Japan, which make Beijing believe it is going to meddle in the territorial disputes between China and Japan,” Wong said. It was unclear when the drill took place; the captions said sometime this winter. The pictures showed a missile fired from a large launcher mounted on a 16-wheeled truck. Operators were shown inside a military camp dressed in protective suits, suggesting that the missile force was simulating the launch of an armed warhead.
In a move that will pull India a step closer to achieving the “nuclear triad”, Indian Navy is all set to start sea trials for its first indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant in few weeks, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral LVS Babu said on Tuesday. A miniature model of the prestigious subamrine will also be flaunted as a part of Indian Navy tableaux at the Republic Day Parade. INS Arihant’s commissioning into the Indian Navy, which is expected till the end of the year, will gift India with the “nuclear triad”, that is the ability to retaliate to nuclear strikes from land, air and sea-based systems.
CHINA is the first country to label internet addiction a clinical disorder. But instead of shutting the laptop and going for a stroll, in China there are guarded boot camps intended to deprogram hooked teens. We use the internet daily. We rely on it. But there are some who are so addicted to it they shun the tangible realm of reality for an online existence, exploring digital worlds and living a digital life to such an extent the lines of what’s real and what isn’t become a blur. The compulsive need to excessively be online has been the cause of scores of deaths.
The United States has asked Spain for permission to expand its 500-strong Marine rapid-reaction force for Africa by at least 50 percent and extend its presence at the Morón de la Frontera base by one more year, government sources said.A bilateral agreement between both nations allows the US to temporarily station its Marines in the southern airbase, which provides fast access to the Mediterranean region. Because of this temporary nature, the Spanish government could approve the increase to anywhere between 750 and 900 Marines without modifying the agreement, and thus without consulting Congress first.
A longtime no-war pledge has disappeared from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s annual working policy revealed on Sunday, while the ruling party vowed to continue visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and push ahead constitutional revision, in another move leading the country in a far-right direction, observers said. In another change from last year’s policy, the party added a phrase saying it will “bolster veneration for the war dead” – referring to continued shrine visits – and also made clear it will amend the country’s constitution.
Trust in elected leaders has fallen sharply, a global survey revealed, citing the protracted budget battle in Washington that nearly saw the U.S. default on its debts and Europe’s stuttering response to its debt crisis as key reasons for the drop. Ahead of the gathering of political and business leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos, the public relations firm Edelman found that only 44 per cent of university-educated people participating in the survey trusted government, down 4 percentage points from the previous year. As recently as 2011, trust in politicians stood at 52 per cent.
North Korea has been building concrete machine-gun pillboxes along the border with China since December as the Chinese staged massive military drills in the area. North Korea Reform Radio quoted a North Korean source as saying each platoon of the border guard units stationed at strategic points along the Apnok and Duman Rivers has been ordered to build three concrete machine-gun emplacements. Officers of each brigade and battalion are looking for rebar and cement outside their camps.
“This is a country in need on many issues – economic development is necessary, investments are needed…countries from the region especially India which is seen as a friend to Afghanistan…people from Afghanistan appreciate India and its solidarity…” German Ambassador to India Micheal Steiner said on the sidelines of an event. To a question, he said India, Germany, Afghanistan and the international community have agreed that the war-torn country still needs military presence but a different one from what it has witnessed in the past.
Triple Canopy, one of ESSD American who works for the State Department under the WPS and ensures the safety of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad (880 personnel deployed for just under $ 300 million per year) offers new courses. The company has just launched a new program for government agencies, agencies of law enforcement (local, state), Multinational Enterprises and course units of the armed forces. The company has obviously decided to extend its offer (by type of training and customer). One way to balance against-the approaching end of some contracts protection and security. TC has refocused its bid security missions on the mainland U.S.
The Turkish currency plunged to a new low against the dollar Thursday as the government grappled with its worst crisis in years, sparked by a corruption probe targeting top political and business figures. The lira hit 2.20 to the dollar, extending a slide that has seen it lose nine percent of its value since the scandal erupted in mid-December, and over 20 percent since May. Although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to curtail the probe, analysts are concerned the crisis could further savage Turkey’s economy.
Lawmakers in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia voted Thursday to demand powers to hold a referendum on independence from Spain, ramping up their confrontation with a central government determined to avoid the breakup of the country. The vote was largely symbolic, because the Spanish government has repeatedly said that it considers any gesture toward Catalan secession — even a referendum on the question — to be unconstitutional and that it would block any such moves. Both of Spain’s main political parties oppose the idea of a Catalan breakaway.
The brand new Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer Izumo will undergo a refit to serve as the command center for defending remote islands in the southwest, sources said. By deploying a vessel with front-line headquarters functions, the Defense Ministry aims to strengthen the integrated operations of the Self-Defense Forces in the event coordinated actions are needed to retake remote islands that have been captured, the sources said. The move reflects the outline of a new defense program mapped out in December that calls for creating an amphibious unit in the Ground Self-Defense Force whose main task would be to take back islands.
The Chinese Navy has drawn up a detailed plan to seize this year the Philippines’ Pag-asa Island in a battle that will be restricted in the South China Sea, according to a Chinese news network. A report of business and strategy news platform Qianzhan (Prospects) in Mandarin was translated by English news site China Daily Mail and titled “Chinese troops will seize Pag-asa Island, which is called by China Zhongye, back from the Philippines in 2014.” The report said the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Pag-asa Island which is part of the disputed Spratly Islands.
THE RUSSIAN MILITARY will now be given full use of a Cypriot airbase and the main port at Limassol. According to the Ministry of Defence in Nicosia the use of the Andreas Papandreou airbase will be only used for ‘emergency scenarios’ and humanitarian missions, but the move highlights growing co-operation between Russia and Cyprus. There has been intensive diplomatic activity between Nicosia and Moscow over Russian requests for military use of the airbase in Paphos and Limassol port since last summer.
Concerned about the potential military consequences of a surge of high tech innovation in China and other nations, the Pentagon is creating a program to track and analyze emerging technology research and patents, military records and interviews show. China has long been considered a threat to U.S. manufacturing because of its low wages and huge population, but now the nation is seeing a boom in innovation as well. Patents for new technologies in China have taken off, and a graph showing the rise in new patents looks like a “hockey stick,” said Patrick Thomas, a principal and director of analytics for 1790 Analytics.
Ugur Bayraktutan, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), is one of the opposition politicians demanding that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan make public his family’s ties to Saudi Arabian businessman Yasin al-Qadi. Within a month, Erdogan must reply to the request. Bayraktutan wants to know whether Bilal Erdogan actually met with al-Qadi, as the media have reported. “Al-Qadi was here illegally, we have photos to prove it,” Bayraktutan told DW. US authorities list al-Qadi as a supporter of the al-Qaeda terrorist network – an accusation the Saudi businessman rejects.
Public relations in a digital world is increasingly as much about demolishing a brand as about building it, as shown in a recent spat between e-commerce giant Alibaba and social networking major Tencent. The mudslinging between two of China’s most prominent internet companies has brought into focus the rising phenomenon on the mainland of what has come to be known as “black PR” – online campaigns run by public relations companies maligning their clients’ rivals. Trouble erupted when Tencent’s PR team complained on the company’s Weibo account that Alibaba’s PR department had planted negative articles in the media to tarnish Tencent’s image.
New system said to result in more coordinated and combat-capable forces to efficiently respond to a crisis, but not targetted at any country The Chinese military is to establish a joint operational command system “in due course”, with observers saying this will result in more-coordinated and combat-capable forces to efficiently respond to a crisis. Setting up the system is a basic requirement in an era of information, and the military has launched successful pilot programmes in this regard, the Ministry of National Defense toldChina Daily on Thursday.
yrian warplanes bombed on Wednesday a barren range of Lebanese hills used by Syrian rebels and refugees to cross between the two countries, wounding at least 10 Syrians who were rushed to hospital in a nearby Lebanese town, Beirut’s state-run National News Agency said. Cross-border strikes have been particularly intense this week around the town of Arsal, where thousands of Syrians have fled to escape their country’s civil war over the past months. The attack came days after Lebanese forces fired on Syrian helicopters near the border, an apparent attempt by Lebanon to signal that it would be forceful in defending its territory.
Authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have detained and interrogated several farmers on suspicion of revealing state secrets and speaking to “hostile” media organizations, relatives said this week. The detentions came after local farming communities, who include ethnic minority Kazakhs, Uyghurs and Xibe, as well as migrant Han Chinese farmers, protested the canceling of their 30-year and 50-year land leases by officials in the Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County in Xinjiang’s Ili prefecture.
Since the International Court at The Hague issued its November 2012 ruling that delineated the new maritime frontier between Nicaragua and Colombia, the longstanding dispute between the Caribbean neighbors has festered into a diplomatic impasse that is increasingly taking on a military tenor. The Nicaraguans have announced that in 2014 they will allow U.S. and Russian military forces to enter the section of the Caribbean that the Hague Court gave them — which Colombia has so far refused to abandon or hand over. Colombian concern turned to alarm in recent weeks after two Russian bombers violated its airspace, while flying between Caracas and Managua.
No 10 has indicated that Prime Minister David Cameron is prepared to block any attempt to give the EU a bigger role in co-ordinating defence policy. He will attend a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday, the first to discuss defence for five years. The UK wants to emphasise the primacy of Nato and nation states, although Nato is keen for European countries to contribute more to their own defence. Downing Street fears any move by the European Union could undermine Nato, European officials have privately questioned the UK’s stance.
Yemen’s parliament has voted for a ban on drone strikes, but experts say lawmakers have limited powers and their vote is unlikely to impact Washington’s bid to crush Al-Qaeda militants. The United States operates all unmanned aircraft flying over Yemen in support of Sanaa’s attempts to break Al-Qaeda, and intensified strikes this year have killed dozens of militants. Yemen is home to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which Washington views as the deadliest franchise of the global Wahhabi militant network. Critics say drone strikes kill civilians and have demanded an end to the secrecy surrounding them.
Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime and the foreign military intervention in the country, the need to rebuild security through a stable and capable army in Libya has become urgent. Indeed it is becoming vital to fill Libya’s security vacuum, and efficiently fight against the country’s growing chaos, the militia violence, and al Qaida. Many countries and private entities are interested in benefitting from the risky endeavour of training the Libyan armed forces, and expanding their influence within the resource rich country.
No one is expecting a tank invasion of Saudi Arabia anytime soon, but the kingdom just put in a huge order for U.S.-made anti-tank missiles that has Saudi-watchers scratching their heads and wondering whether the deal is related to Riyadh’s support for the Syrian rebels. The proposed weapons deal, which the Pentagon notified Congress of in early December, would provide Riyadh with more than 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles at a cost of over $1 billion. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance report, Saudi Arabia’s total stockpile this year amounted to slightly more than 4,000 anti-tank missiles.
France would not go out of its way to stop Britain leaving the EU: that is the result of a mock “war game” negotiation which imagined the outcome of several possible scenarios in the aftermath of a likely UK referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017.
The event, organised by the Euro-critical think tank Open Europe, took place yesterday (11 December) in central London and brought together more than 70 participants, including policymakers and European diplomats.
Japan will set up a new amphibious military unit and deploy unarmed surveillance drones in its southwest, where it faces a row with China over disputed islands, according to drafts of the nation’s latest defence plans seen on Wednesday. The new defence guideline and military build-up plan, to be approved by the government next week, follow China’s declaration in November of a new air defence identification zone in an area that includes the disputed isles, triggering protests from Tokyo, as well as Washington and Seoul.
Iranian border forces fired five rockets in Pakistan’s bordering town of Panjgoor on Monday, officials said. An official of the provincial home and tribal affairs department who requested anonymity told Dawn.com that the rockets fired by Iranian forces landed at the Paroum area of Panjgoor. “The loud noise from the rockets were heard far and wide and caused panic in the area,” he said. However, no fatalities were reported as a result of the rocket attacks.
“Iran will have a more long-term stake in the security and economy of Afghanistan than the United States ever will. So, it makes a lot of sense for Karzai to build up a close relationship with his neighbor,” Smith said. Afghanistan and Iran share deep historical, cultural, and linguistic links. And the sides moved to cement their burgeoning political and economic ties during Karzai’s one-day trip to Tehran by agreeing to begin negotiations over a “Comprehensive Friendship And Cooperation Agreement.”
The attackers who devastated Yemen’s Defense Ministry on Thursday, killing 56 people and wounding more than 200, were primarily Saudi Arabians, according to an initial investigative report released Friday. The presence of so many Saudis among the 12 militants who attacked the building bolsters the belief that the assault was the work of al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the al Qaida affiliate based in Yemen that was formed by the merger of al Qaida branches in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Officially dubbed the K5 Autonomous Data Machine, the 300-pound, 5-foot-tall mobile robot will be equipped with nighttime video cameras, thermal imaging capabilities, and license plate recognition skills. It will be able to function autonomously for select operations, but more significantly, its software will provide crime prediction that’s reminiscent, the company claims, of the “precog” plot point of “Minority Report.” “It can see, hear, feel, and smell and it will roam around autonomously 24/7,” said CEO William Santana Li, a former Ford Motor executive, in an interview with CNET.
French lawmakers propose police and tax officials have warrantless access to live user internet data
If the bill becomes law, it will no longer be necessary to go via the courts to obtain such access, and the number of government officials who could access the data would be much broader, potentially including those responsible for collecting taxes. Requests for access to such data could be approved by an appointee of the Prime Minister for periods of up to 30 days, renewable on demand. The requests could be made by designated officials of the Ministries of Defense, the Interior or Finance, and would be reviewed after the fact by a committee responsible for auditing wiretapping orders.
For France’s happy interventionists, each expedition has had a primary humanitarian focus. But they have also served to bolster fading French international prestige, especially in its former African colonies, and to boost Hollande’s low approval ratings. Oppressed by economic woes, the French appear to enjoy incisive military action abroad (as long at it works). As Napoleon, another pint-sized French leader knew, la gloiremakes little men feel grand. The Hollande doctrine promotes a broader agenda, about how to “do” international security.
A proposal to dispatch an EU force to the Central African Republic to help African and French troops has failed to convince defence heavyweights Britain and France, diplomats said Thursday. Under the proposal, a unit of up to 1,500 troops known as the EU “Battle Group” — a force designed for quick intervention abroad and currently led by Britain — would have gone into the strife-torn country for up to four months to give a larger African force time to fan out and organise. The European Union proposal, which was seen by AFP, was drafted by European experts, including British and French officers.
Israeli intelligence drew up a list of these men, each one the possessor of highly lethal skills that could be threatening to Israel, even if there had not been a coordinated network embracing of all of them. The list was headed by two men: Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s supreme military commander, and Gen. Muhammad Suleiman, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s head of secret special projects, including the building of a nuclear reactor, and the person in charge of Syria’s ties with Iran and Hezbollah.
The EU is supporting Libyan border security troops near Ghadames, but local members of the military complain of unclear structures and insufficient equipment. They put the blame on the government in Tripoli. The Libyan army is still growing into its tasks more than two years after the revolution against Gadhafi, and it has had only limited success in integrating former rebels. Effectively controlling the country’s borders remains beyond the army’s capabilities. “Large segments of the 1,000-kilometer long border to Algeria are nearly inaccessible.
“The maritime domain in general has got more complex, with the undersea domain a huge part of that with more sophisticated submarines and the emergence of long-endurance, unmanned or remotely operated vehicles,” he said. “You see it just in oceanographic capabilities. Frankly the way countries globally are using technology in the undersea domain is going to make it a very interesting operational space. You’re going to have to bring a lot more capability into that operating space to ensure you stay dominant — economically as well as militarily.
The US Navy is confirming its footprint in the Arabian Gulf by reinforcing its presence through short- and long-term plans. Telling Navy sailors at the US Naval Facility in Manama that Bahrain remained the best option for operating out of the region, Adm Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, described a plan to bring two more coastal patrol ships to the kingdom in the spring. The first littoral combat ships are expected to arrive in Bahrain in 2018 with rotational crews, Greenert told the US newspaper.
A pregnant woman has had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers. Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb. The council said it was acting in the best interests of the woman, an Italian who was in Britain on a work trip, because she had suffered a mental breakdown. The baby girl, now 15 months old, is still in the care of social services, who are refusing to give her back to the mother, even though she claims to have made a full recovery. The case has developed into an international legal row, with lawyers for the woman describing it as “unprecedented”.
China’s increased belligerence in the region is part of its plan to control the Yellow Sea, the South China Sea and the larger East China Sea. Its military doctrine refers to dominance over the “first island chain,” which encompasses the East China Sea. The next step is dominance over what Beijing calls the second island chain extending from Japan to Indonesia. Some analysts have even speculated about plans for a third island chain strategy extending as far as Hawaii. China’s defense ministry warned in a statement that all aircraft that fail to comply with its new rules for transit through the zone could be shot down.
November has been a torrid month for France, rapped by the European Commission for failing to reform its economy and hit by a new sovereign debt downgrade. Nationwide anger at rising taxes has sparked often violent protests, notably by Breton livestock workers up in arms over a planned road freight levy. Yet abroad, it has exuded self-confidence and strength: it played hard ball in major-power nuclear talks with Iran that brought a landmark deal on Sunday; it is gearing up for a risky new peace intervention in ex-colony Central African Republic.
The PAK-DA doesn’t just fill in a technological gap in the current Russian aircraft inventory, but should have the capacity to return Russia — should Mr. Putin desire such — to the glory days of Soviet bomber power, pushing a dynamic long-range bomber into the air that could be the worst of threats to enemies the world over. It was that threat — the threat of rapid deployment and possibilities for diverse missions—that was as powerful a psychological weapon against the Americans in the Cold War as the core aspect of nuclear weapons to be placed aboard these bombers.
The Defense Ministry plans to slash its tank forces by more than half and redeploy the remaining vehicles to Hokkaido and Kyushu to meet the realities of the post-Cold War world, sources said. The number of Ground Self-Defense Force tanks will be reduced from the current 741 to 300 within 10 years, they said. The proposal to reduce tank numbers will be included in the new National Defense Program Guidelines, the government’s basic 10-year plan for defense and national security, scheduled for completion in mid-December.
Saudi Arabia has emerged as the biggest foreign customer for German arms, buying nearly a quarter of Germany’s total weapons sales. It’s part of an emerging pattern of weapons purchases by Saudi Arabia and its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia was the world’s 10th-largest weapons importer in 2008-12 (the Emirates was No. 9). And Saudi Arabia is expected to be among the top 5 for 2013-17 “due to major outstanding orders, such as for 48 Typhoon combat aircraft from the UK and 152 F-15SA combat aircraft from the USA.”
Creative or invasive? A controversial new technology allows retailers to gather information about customers through their smartphones as they shop. The technology taps into shoppers’ wifi signals, and can detect a shopper’s location in the store, how long they spend in certain departments, and how often they visit the store. It’s a deal for marketers looking to collect information, but it’s a deal-breaker for privacy advocates. “It’s just one layer of privacy after another being peeled off,” said Mark Bonner, associate professor of law at Ave Maria School of Law. “The potential for abuse is gigantic.”
Seven EU countries have formed what France calls a “club” to produce military drones from 2020 onward. The scheme was agreed in Brussels on Tuesday (19 November) at a meeting of the European Defence Agency (EDA), the EU’s defence think tank, by France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. The group-of-seven’s defence ministers signed a “letter of intent” tasking the EDA to draw up a study on joint production of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (Male) craft, which can be used to strike military targets or for surveillance of migrant boats in the Mediterranean Sea.
Britain said Wednesday it was reviewing its military presence off Gibraltar following a lengthy stand-off between the Royal Navy and a Spanish ship, but denied it was resorting to “gunboat diplomacy”. Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said he wanted to de-escalate the situation but would not put up with “bullying and intimidation” of the British territory at the mouth of the Mediterranean. Britain summoned the Spanish ambassador on Tuesday to explain the most serious incursion for months in the waters off Gibraltar, which Spain has long claimed as its own.